Hector: Badge of Carnage Microreview

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Hector: Badge of Carnage Microreview – 17/20!

Hector: Badge of Carnage is an episodic graphic adventure game developed by Straandlooper and published by Telltale Games.

Hector is a drunken, violent and vulgar detective inspector with the Clappers Wreake Police Department. “Everyone is guilty” is his credo and although he has a personal penchant for certain criminal activities, he struggles to eliminate the truly warped and perverse criminals infesting Clappers Wreake; the crime capital of England and the town that took the ‘Great’ out of Britain.

This game is funky good! Picture a crime drama, with a large injection of vulgarity and offbeat humor and you’re in the plot of Hector: Badge of Carnage. The animation style is quirky and unique, but shouldn’t be mistaken for crude (unless we’re discussing subject matter). The sound quality (not to be confused with the voice acting) of the first episode was a little rough and hollow, but improved with each episode.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda Microreview

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Mass Effect: Andromeda Microreview – 18/20!

Mass Effect: Andromeda is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.

The player assumes the role of a male or female Ryder twin, a relatively inexperienced military recruit who joins the Andromeda Initiative and wakes up in the Andromeda universe after a 600-year journey. Shortly after waking, Ryder is thrust into the role of humanity’s Pathfinder, whose job is to find a suitable living environment, but also finds himself or herself dealing with an antagonistic alien race called the Kett.

If they wanted separation from the original series, they achieved it. This game has the general feel of a Mass Effect game, but with a greater focus on exploration and discovery. Overall I enjoyed this game, but I was disappointed in the lack of closure in several plot points and how unpolished the game was upon release. I’m excited to see what the future of this series holds and hope that they really focus on ironing out the technical details before delivering.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Microreview

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Microreview – 20/20!

Dragon Age: Inquisition is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.

The player guides their character, the Inquisitor, through closing a tear in the sky called the “Breach”, which is unleashing dangerous demons into the world. The Inquisitor recruits many allies from different races and backgrounds to help him/her seal the Breach and settle the civil unrest or war throughout the continent of Thedas. Together they can defeat enemies with swords and magic, complete side quests, interact with non-playable characters, and progress through the main story.

This game is so beautiful and enjoyable to play! I am always a sucker for dragons and here there be dragons aplenty! While you need to reach an acceptable level to challenge each different breed of dragon, it’s definitely worth it once you see them in action! The way they sound and move is the epitome of how I believe a wild dragon would act in most imaginations. Beyond the dragons, I appreciate how Bioware is always working to improve the ability for players to customize their experience while still telling a great story and many side stories, I couldn’t have asked for a better chapter in the Dragon Age universe.

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Dragon Age II Microreview

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Dragon Age II Microreview – 17/20!

Dragon Age II is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.

The player assumes the role of Hawke, a male or female human mage, warrior, or rogue who is driven from his or her homeland of Ferelden by the blight the Hero of Ferelden battles in Dragon Age: Origins. Hawke arrives in the city of Kirkwall as a refugee of no status, survives and flourishes into a legendary champion over a decade of personal and political conflict.

Of the Dragon Age trilogy, I played this one last and I lost interest halfway through for about a month or more before returning to complete it. The main plot is engaging, the combat flows well and the graphics are aesthetically pleasing. What began to frustrate me is the constant recycling of the same settings throughout the game; the same areas were used over and over again as the years progressed, although with no physical changes. That being said, I am extremely pleased with how well the end of Dragon Age II leads into Dragon Age: Inquisition. If you have the time and the patience, it’s worth playing in chronological order.

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Dragon Age: Origins Microreview

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Dragon Age: Origins Microreview – 20/20!

I cannot believe I allowed myself to overlook Dragon Age: Origins for so long! I love a game that places a lot of the power in the player’s hands. From creating a character that looks the way you want, to dialogue and action choices that shape the way the world in the game perceives you and evolves; the choices are yours. This makes the game a lot more engaging and the characters more intimate. Though it can sometimes be a chore to play a dated game for the sake of playing a series from start to finish, I enjoyed every minute of Dragon Age: Origins.

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Stacking Microreview

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Stacking Microreview – 16/20!

Stacking is a casual adventure puzzle video game developed and published by Double Fine Productions.

The player controls, Charlie Blackmore, the smallest doll in a family of matryoshka dolls who have fallen into misfortune after their father agrees to work for an evil industrialist known as the Baron. Charlie’s size enables him to stack and unstack into larger dolls to use their unique abilities to solve puzzles and allow him to free his older siblings from the Baron’s control. Each puzzle has multiple solutions and some include additional puzzles and challenges that allow the player to explore outside of the main story.

I found this game to be charming with its vintage aesthetic and unique concept of using the stacking matryoshka dolls with different traits and abilities to progress the story. Now I am a gaming optimist and I try to see the good in all games. I understand that each game is someone(s) time and effort, their pride and joy and therefore I take great care when judging them. That being said, I had to mark this game down one point in each category (fun factor, game play, sound and visual style) because it just wasn’t quite there.

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The Cave Microreview

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The Cave Microreview – 19/20!

The cognizant Cave, voiced by Stephen Stanton, is a magical labyrinthine of tunnels that lures individuals within to explore their darker personalities. Seven unique strangers, each harboring their own dark secret, have been drawn to the Cave from across time and space to learn the truth about themselves and gain insight of who they may become.

The player initially selects three different characters from a cast of seven stereotypical figures to explore the Cave: The Adventurer, the Hillbilly, the Knight, the Monk, the Scientist, the Time-traveller, and the Twins (acting as one character). Once chosen, these three characters will be your explorers for the remainder of the game; players can restart a new game to select a different trio of characters.

The majority of this game’s puzzles require the three characters to work in coordination to complete, the player switching between them to activate multiple parts of a puzzle; an example of this would be opening a door by maneuvering two characters into holding levers, while the third character passes through the open door to pull another lever, permanently opening the door and allowing the other characters to pass through. Each character also has a unique ability to aid in navigating the cave tunnels; for example, the adventurer is able to swing herself across gaps with a rope, while the time traveller can phase shift a short distance to pass through barriers. Some puzzles are specific to the unique abilities of a character, leaving some areas inaccessible if the appropriate characters aren’t chosen at the start; the Cave can only be fully explored through at least three replays, if not more.

In addition, some areas of the Cave are accessible only if one a specific characters is in your party; such as the knight finding a castle or the adventurer discovering a tomb, these areas represent the deep desires and dark aspects of a character that lured him or her to the Cave in the first place. Throughout the game there there are iconographs emblazoned on the walls of the cave for each of the three characters, which the player will need to get near to activate; these provide one of several still art images that reveal the character’s (usually morbid) back-story.

The Cave is witty and quite fun to play through at least once, if not more. The first time I played, I selected the Adventurer, the Knight and the Time-traveller and I couldn’t have asked for a greater combination. Their storylines were morbid, yet entertaining and between their unique abilities, I was able to explore a great deal of the Cave’s tunnels. I did start over with three new characters, but I soon realized a great deal of the cave was redundant and I had no true desire to replay the whole game again just to discover other characters’ backstories.

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