Reviews by Daniel Steven Oles

Through the Darkest of Times
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Boring, Repetative, Ugly, Petty

'Hitler says 'Fake news!'

Get it? Because Trump is Hitler? Do you get that? Becasue if you don't every cutscene in this game will try to remind you of it.
'How did they let someone with stupid hair rule?' your character asks at one point? I'm not sure anybody thought Hitler's hair was stupid...but then again it all ties back to SOMEONE ELSE. Get it? Children in cages? Trade wars?
It's all that subtle and all that stupid. It's like standing on someone's grave to whine about your politics.

Aside from this the game's aesthetic is dull and goofy, like lifeless marionettes. The gameplay is entirely based on dragging your people around to increase a possibility of accomplishing missions: the entire game in RNG.
Between the interminable map sections there's a choose your own adventure mode in which you can make dialogue choices that don't effect anything.

What a waste of money and time.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jan 30th 2020
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Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders
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Very Charming Mystery!

I was warned this game wouldn't work on my computer, but it does just fine even after the update!
Whoever made this game was clearly very familiar with the books and television show based on Hercule Poirot, the belgium master detective. This game is by no means dififcult but it does reward you for being observant and literally putting clues together. The voice acting is decent and the music appropriate and I like the painterly cell-shaded artstyle.
It has a bit of a mobile game feel here and there (lots of acheievements and trophies) but it's written smartly, gets the characters, and it just feels good to puzzle out a murder scene.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 28th 2019
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Serial Cleaner
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Great Art Style, Frustrating Gameplay

This reminds me of Hotline Miami in good and bad ways. Like Hotline, the game is gorgoeus graphically and has a kicking soundtrack. Instead of playing the killer now you play the guy sent to clean up the evidence and bodies left behind by other killers.
But, inexplicably, you are trying to do this cleaning WHILE COPS ARE IN THE BUILDING.
And therein lies the problem for me. I was looking for a cross between Hotline Miami and Viscera Cleanup. But this is less about how well you clean something but instead how fast you can accomplish a bunch of requirements without being caught by vision cones. Annoyingly, if you do get caught you will lose ALL YOUR PROGRESS. No checkpoints within missions. Also every body and evidence item RANDOMLY PLACES when the mission restarts. Every single time. Strategy is pointless: it's more about frantic outrunning vision cones and cursing when you've collected all the bodies and evidence...and get caught cleaning up a puddle of blood.
There's real heart here, but for me the game just wasn't that fun.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Aug 24th 2019
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Dying Light Enhanced Edition
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Incredible Upgrade For Dead Island!

I LOVE Dead Island, so much I was skeptical about getting Dying Light even though it was from the same company. A zombie RPG is fantastic fun but I didn't know how well it would work in a city versus a moody tropical island.
Now I've played it and Dying Light is like Dead Island on steroids. Everything good is still there (except the ability to throw weapons which I miss) but there are also additions which really make it all the more fun. The parkour system is incredible! If you've ever wanted to play 'the floor is lava' with zombies, this is your game.
You can know build and repair items anywhere, not just at repair stations. You can fight humans as well as zombies. There's more to explore, more to do, more people to meet. An excellent upgrade in graphics too with a lot of nifty lighting effects.
It takes a heft rig to run this game, but it's worth it.
The DLC is a little silly, but the main game is solid!

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Aug 20th 2019
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Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered
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Great...up till the quick time events

I loved the atmosphere, the story, the characters, the choices...this game had it all!
It only dropped the ball for me at the 'quick time events' that requires a series of button presses at certain moments to accomplish things. This system only obscured what was going on (because you're looking at the buttons instead of the game), arbitrarily makes you fail some tasks of have to restart, and the buttons pressed themselves have very little to do with what's going on.
A beautiful, moody detective thriller with a supernatural twist would have been excellent. I guess I just have to 'git gud' at all those darn button presses....

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Aug 20th 2019
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Unexpected Journey
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Fun but Broken

This might only be my problem but although I enjoyed the setting and story and gameplay this game continually freezes and crashes on me unfortunately.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 27th 2019
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Enclave
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Metal Graphics, Lots of Content, Fun Time!

Enclave is an unjustly forgotten third person fantasy action game with several classes to choose from, diverse maps, and a real sense of love poured into the style here. If you enjoy Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, or Dungeons and Dragons you can't go wrong. The engine is a little dated but it helps it to run smoothly on less than top of the line computers. There's a high difficutly curb, but challenging doesn't mean bad. It's a steal at the price: two campaigns, dozens of characters and armor combinations, you travel to an underwater wizard sanctuary and climb a bone fortress...I enjoyed it anyway.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Apr 19th 2019
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Hidden World of Art
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Great Casual Hidden Object Game

It's a fun little 'find the object' game that does mix up the forumla every level or so by having some lists of objects represented only by outlines, some with words, there are challenges for extra money so you can buy new cosmetics for your hub...etc. It's all fluffy and not very important but the game makes no bones about being a sturdy time waster with frills. Heck, in the menu you can draw on a little note pad! Cute and entertaining.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018
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Mount & Blade: Warband
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Giant Sandbox

Between the core game, the expansions, and the mods this is a toy box of adventure. I wish for some kind of more solid single player specific campaign, but some mods take care of that too at least. A good mix of complex controls for specific actions and easily accessible controls for mundane actions, you really do get a simulated experience of riding a horse, firing a bow, using a spear, swinging a sword...etc. For an older game the graphics are quite decent and atmospheric with a pleasant soundtrack. No voice acting (beyond grunts and shouts) but this makes the game easier to play in other languages.
If you don't mind some repetition of tasks and basically having to choose your own journey (do you want to take over a castle? be a merchant? fight bandits? join the army? Become king? Woo fair maidens? Get lots of gold or the best armor and weapons?) this game will keep you mighty busy even without the still strong community adding bizzarities like a Star Wars mod, a Lord of the Rings mod, a mod for every time in history...etc. Check it out! On sale or not it's worth it.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018
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Dungeon of the Endless - Crystal Pack
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Great Single Player, Excellent Multiplayer

If you want a solid single player experience and a multiplayer game you'll go back to again and again this is a fantastic choice. The controls are a little bit wonky but you can start playign quickly when you realize this game is less like controlling a character then strategizing choke points, managing resources, coordinating manuvers and taking risks versus rewards every room you explore. You move only room by room. Time continues only when you open a new room. Abilities recharge with every other room...so forth. Evertything depends on rooms. It's an unusual hybrid of tower defense and dungeon runner but once the hurdle is over it's a swell time with friends. And if you'd prefer to play by yourself you get the added bonus of characters talking to one another and undergoing a little story between missions based on which you took with you before beginning a campaign. I'd love to see more innovation like this!

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018
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Rencounter
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A Cross Between X-Com and Let It Die Killed by RNG

I wanted to like this game. The aesthetics are nifty, I like turn-based strategy games, and it seemed like a dungeon crawler with a more futuristic veneer. The problem is it is entirely too random. You can't easily plan a strategy if ever aspect of a room and encounter is randomized and too often you find yourself in situations you simply cannot win through. This is not a 'dark souls' situation where situations are fair but tough, some times things were simply unjust. I still play it on occasion, but I do have to be in a masochistic mood.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 9th 2018
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Knights and Merchants HD
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Charming and Soothing For an RTS

Runs fine on my Mac, looks perfectly fine. This is a slow burn game for fans of games like Settlers and Stronghold who like to watch their little minions run about and construct buildings in stages. It's old school in a lot of ways (no selecting multiple units: characters go about their programming with little interaction once trained) but it does have strategy and the calm music, surroundings, and easy pace makes it a lovely time killer.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 25th 2018
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Beckett
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An Uneven Nightmarish Journey

I want to love this game, but perhaps by design it doesn't quite allow this. The sound effects start to get to you. It only saves right before big chunks of 'gameplay' which mostly consists of clicking on and looking at things. There's no real puzzles I could find, it's more like a visual novel with elements of point-and-click to find more information about the world. But beside the hands-off feeling and irritating quirks there's some weird and wonderful ideas, some living metaphors and really catchy haunting music. It's an undeniably cool world to explore, but you can't go in expecting either an adventure game (it isn't) and you have to have a high tollerance for sucking noises.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - May 1st 2018
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Breach and Clear
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Short Bursts of Intense Gameplay

Decent graphics, high degree of customizability based on mission sucess (more money means more options for improving loadout and identifiable costumes). There's a few hiccups sometimes (enemies firing backwards) but for the most part it's determined by YOU whether you enter into a tactical situation and emerge wounded and crippled or take out the bad guys and accomplish the objective. It's turn based: each movement playing out and then each new phase tallied at the end of the mission to determine money and experience. Lots of missions and although the objectives tend to be similar and the sessions also similar (choose your door, check the rooms, kill the bad guys) each session is different because of randomized factors like enemy placement, choices for where to breach, equipment, abilties and so forth.
Great time killer that presents a lot of suspense when you kick in the door and hope you didn't miss that one guy always hiding in the corner!

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 30th 2017
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Medieval Battlefields - Black Edition
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Deceptively Simple, Quite a Lot of Strategy!

The trailer doesn't do this game justice. It's a simple game on the surface but with a lot of little details to make your strategy. Part Turn Based Strategy game, part chess it's an intriguing tug-of-war between sides choosing to build tons of trash units or expending wealth to improve battlefield tactics such as weapons/armor or gathering more gold.
The animations are charming. The voice acting is unobtrusive and said with enough conviciton to support the atmosphere. If you don't mind a slower paced game with customizable tactics this is a fine choice.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 25th 2017
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In Exilium
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Haunting

It wears its influences on its sleeve (Diablo/Fate/Titan Quest...etc) but there's something here you can't find as easily in those games: atmosphere. There's a beautiful and melencholy score which really makes the worlds you visit and even generic enemies seem that much more interesting and there's some puzzles to solve as well as exploration and crafting. A handsome, intriguing game!
A few translation errors though.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 24th 2017
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Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy
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Need A Gamepad

This is a competent port of a decent game with one exception...it is COMPLETEY unoptomized for keyboards. You can't adjust the controls or even figure out what they are without outside research because everything comes up as gamepad symbols.
It's still a pretty game, runs smooth, and takes some puzzling as well as fighting to play which is lovely, but it doesn't mention this big issue so it's a difficult to reccomend nostalgia trip.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 13th 2017
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Earth 2140
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Utterly Charming

It's a little on the primative side (you can't select groups of units by double clicking one of them) but the graphics are so nostalgic and there's been a lot of care put into this game including the menus and breifings where the backgrounds scroll with your mouse so even then you have something to do. Voice acting is minimal and music is BIZARRE (a lot of upbeat techno for a darker toned game) but it's always catched. Reminded me of Total Anhilation but a little less polished, however no less destructive and fun.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 1st 2017
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Ancient Rome 2
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Simple, Casual and Charming!

Sometimes I just want to sit down and build a city and this works out fine! Tasks to complete, a little villa to build between missions, charming graphics and animation and surprisingly epic music all makes this perfect for a pick up and play type game and it doesn't make you feel stressed out with time limits.
I loved Ceaser 3 but it was undeniably stressful at times with wolves eating citizens and random collapses and plauges destroying everything. There ARE random events but they're more like obstacles to think around.
It's cute, it's leisurely, and I found no real issues. Just a nice click-a-thon city builder.

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 22nd 2017
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Battle Chasers: Nightwar
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Old School RPG With Beautiful Artistry

I remember the Battle Chaser comic and always thought it would work as a game. I wasn't expecting an homage to JRPGs like classic Final Fantasy mixed with dungeon exploration.
This is a leisurely paced game in many ways but I appreciate that: turn based combat with gorgeous graphical touches that do justice to the stylized world the comic created.
You will grind but if you don't mind and enjoy the skillful animation you will enjoy this as much as I did. A few glitches are being patched but nothing game breaking.
Fine music, gameplay with a sense of progression, lots of characters to play with. Just a fine new game which remembers its roots!

by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 20th 2017
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