Highland Arrow

Review: BattleTech - BattleTech is a game that offers a functional combat system that strains and ultimately breaks under an underwhelming roleplaying experience lacking player choice, a dreking fuckdump of clumsy exposition, and a swarm of technical bugs.  Being a BattleTech fan since its heyday under FASA Corporation I desperately wanted to like this game, but ultimately found myself alt-tabbing out during enemy turns to rearrange desktop icons I was just so bored.  BattleTech feels like an over-wrought, under-edited, and under-performing mess of a game to which its saving grace is that its combat system is fairly functional.  That is to say, it feels like a bad game with a redeeming quality, rather than a good game that got brought down by flaws.  Ultimately, at the end of the day, I wasn't having fun, and more importantly, I don't think fans of Mech combat games except series fanatics are going to find much of value here.  For BattleTech fans, this is something to pick up on a deep discount; for anyone else, it's a pass.
Review: EA Battlefront - EA's Battlefront is a beautiful game that plays well but ends up repetitive due to a lack of content.  While the core gameplay is enjoyable enough in small sessions that I did and still do find myself returning to it, the limited amount of game modes with player population makes the content ceiling artificially low when it already was quite low to begin with.  Since it enjoys a solid core of good shooting and frankly jaw-dropping visuals that are very authentic to the movie, Battlefront is a game that suffers terribly from the lack of being able to fill in the less popular game modes with bots.  The levelling system also makes early play considerably more frustrating than it has to be.  If you aren't bothered by only having a few game modes to play and want a Star Wars shooter fix, however, you're going to be hard pressed to find better, other than its original predecessor, or reaching even further into the past to the Jedi Knight series.
Review: Little Nightmares - I loved this game without a doubt. It has some of the best art design I've seen and mixes it with a fantastic story to give you a nightmare right out of your childhood. Sound and level design take a close second to the art and story. Multiple levels, and glimpses into the horrors of the Maw give you the feel that there are terrible things ahead. My only real complaint is the game is too short. Almost too short for the money. If it were not so good I'd have a hard time recommending it because of that.
Review: Mass Effect Andromeda (Single-Player) - Whether you enjoy Andromeda is very much going to be determined whether you can see past the flaws of something pushed out too early, but if you can, there's an enjoyable if short sandbox RPG game here.  Combat has a few trade-offs in the design but is mostly greatly improved by the addition of mobility, the story arc is nothing revolutionary but quite functional, the voice acting is mostly good bordering on great, and overall, I enjoyed my time enough with the game to want to go back to it.  However, the rough edges on this game are very, very obvious: some animations are janky, and there are some textures that look like they got made with five minutes in MS Paint.  The white space that exists for the lack of other content is obvious, and some of the character writing has the 'writing by committee' feel to it.  If you can tolerate that though, this is a good story and good mechanics at work here.  It's probably well worth it on a sale.
Review: Guild Wars 2 - Guild Wars 2 is a massive game with an incredible amount of things to do. The graphics are gorgeous, and much of the score creates an epic quality to adventuring in the world. Tyria has a vast lore, and the writers incorporated it well into the game. It's fun to play in long stints, but also in short bits when time is limited. It's easily a game you could put down for awhile, and come back to without feeling like you have to keep up.
Review: Ladykiller in a Bind - Ladykiller's story is long bouts of tedium broken up by decent, sometimes very good, encounters. The ending doesn't pay off the time spent slogging through the screens, and the illusion of choice doesn't hold up. While the set pieces have fantastic art design and execution, the character art is mediocre. The music is best replaced with something else in your headset. Finally, if all of that wasn't enough to deter you, the price is the kicker, Ladykiller is going for $29.99 for the short story. Characters are often lazy stereotypes, and the final plot reveal is ridiculous.
The Long Dark

Early Access Review: The Long Dark

Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Jan 19, 2017.


Recommended: While there is obviously more the developers intend to add, The Long Dark as is now, is already a compelling survival experience.  There's a few rough edges - but not many, and the experience itself offered an absorbing and somewhat surreal survival experience in that frigid north.  If you're looking for a building-oriented game, you should look elsewhere, but if survival is what you want out of these games, none does it better than The Long Dark does right now, in my opinion.  While there's some areas for improvement, including most notably better allowing players to better improvise, they don't ultimately detract enough from the experience that I was ever taken out of it.  This is a game of exploration and survival, and boils it down to its basest essence, and given an interesting world to explore, and strong survival mechanics, it comes easily-recommended.


Read more: Early Access Review: The Long Dark

Spell Casting - Meowgically Enhanced Edition

Review: Spell Casting - Meowgically Enhanced Edition

Written by Trever Bierschbach and published on Nov 21, 2016.


Recommended:  I went back and forth with the final verdict on this one.  Honestly, Spellcasting is the most infuriating game I can remember playing.  It's really not my cup of tea and it's definitely something I wouldn't play again.  However, part of the point of our reviews is to consider the target audience.  If you enjoy mobile-style puzzle games and games of memory I think you'll like this.  I think you'll enjoy the art, the challenge, and the design of it.  I think this would be fun for kids and adults that like these types of games, and absolutely should be played on a device with a touchscreen and stylus in my opinion.  It's priced well for this type of game so the short play-time isn't out of line.  If you like these kinds of games, give this one a try, I think you'll enjoy it.


Read more: Review: Spell Casting - Meowgically Enhanced Edition

Review: Blood & Gold - Caribbean

Review: Review: Blood & Gold - Caribbean

Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Oct 24, 2016.


Neutral:  There's a lot to love in Blood & Gold: Caribbean, but there's a mite too many rough edges to be able to recommend it. Interesting new systems that are perhaps a bit too deep and not really well tutorialized could use some attention, and the production values are uneven and questionable, but at the heart of Caribbean, the roleplaying aspects and the sea combat, are done well. With some TLC this could be a great pirate sim.  The strong sea combat mechanics coupled with the roleplaying aspect will likely carry it for many people with a strong interest in the niche of pirate sims, but otherwise, the many rough edges will probably put off less enthusiastic fans.  With some TLC, this could be the pirate sim game, but as is, I'd only really be able to recommend it to someone really into the pirate theme or a huge Mount & Blade fan who wants more but in a different scene.


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The Division

Review: The Division

Written by Trever Bierschbach and published on Oct 19, 2016.


Recommended:  The Division is a hybrid title that suffers from some flaws for the fusion but is still enjoyable.  I was back and forth between recommended and neutral, but I have to give it a nod just by a hair. I'd be lying if I didn't say I had fun playing the game. I believe I got value out of my purchase, and despite the issues I enjoyed my time playing it. I almost pegged it as neutral for the repetitiveness and lackluster story, but then I remembered I had fun even when I didn't think there was going to be a story, and I got over the redundancy by just not participating in every single mission or intel collection. I also defeated the feeling of it being a grind by not playing it for several hours at a time, and spacing it out over several weeks. The graphics and sound put this game at the top of the heap for production quality, and that's a big factor for me because immersion is key when I'm picking games. Story matters too, so bear in mind that this recommendation is barely on the plus side. If you are a die hard MMO or FPS fan exclusively you probably won't like The Division because it borrows elements from both genres, but doesn't deliver on the key features of either. If, however, you like both genres you might like The Division.


Read more: Review: The Division

Sunless Sea

Review: Sunless Sea

Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Oct 14, 2016.


Neutral:  Sunless Sea finds itself caught between exploration and exposition without knowing which it wants to side with, and ends up somewheres in the middle - and in mediocrity.  The writing is definitely the appeal, but the game makes progressing through things so arduous and slow that by the time you've gotten to the next point I was bored stiff.  Pacing, ultimately, is what undoes Sunless Sea for me, as well as a lack of any real threat in most of the enemies.  The different scenarios and arcs you can discover are fairly interesting by the by, ranging from average to excellent in writing, but there are not many of them and they're not good enough peaks to make up for the chasms that are the valleys.  The writing is what will make or break Sunless Sea for most, so if it appeals, go for it, if not, take a pass.


Read more: Review: Sunless Sea

Elder Sign - Omens

Review: Elder Sign - Omens

Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Sep 27, 2016.


Recommended:  This is a game made true to the spirit of the series from which it derives its name - a delight stymied by the heavy RNG factor. Where looser interpretations might have dampened the random nature of the dice game that Elder Sign inherits from, this adaptation is warts and all, and as such some games are just going to go much better than others and it's as much down to fate and a roll of those proverbial dice as it is up to any player skill. Looking beyond the obvious failings of the dice game mechanics, however, you will find a moody, atmospheric game with a brilliant attention to thematic details.  If there's any game that the feeling of a loss of control created by that random nature is at home in, its a Lovecraftian horror game, and as such, if you can see past that heavy RNG, you'll probably much enjoy this game.


Read more: Review: Elder Sign - Omens

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