Forza Motorsport 5 is a racing simulator game that puts you in the seat of a professional driver. There isn’t really a set story or anything to the game, you just go to race after race trying to get gold in every event. Not every event is a strict race though. There are head to head races with or without traffic, knocking down giant bowling pins, passing as many cars as possible in two laps, and plain races.
Personally I have played and enjoyed the Forza Motorsport 2, 3, and 4 games, so I was not very surprised with this game. I will say that I was amazed by the change from using programmed computer AI to an AI (called “drivatar”) that learns to race like other people to use as your racing opponents. Another use for this it that the computer learns how you drive and then places you in other races when you are not online in effect having you earn credits while not even online.
The minimum number of races you have to complete before the game gives you a drivatar is 4 races or so, but the game learns with every race to maximize the similarity, or synchronization, to your style. I have raced over 100 races and have a “synchronization” somewhere around 45% just to get an idea.
I really like the feel of racing actual people without having to go online, and online multiplayer can be set up with just drivatars. This was very helpful when I played a few races online with my cousin since we didn’t have to worry about finding a full room of people or listen to any trash talk.
My favorite thing about Forza 5 is that your opponents are first filled by your friends list that have a drivatar, so it is like I am racing my cousin in every plain race I participate in. This does lead to some friendly competition and laughs when I get a text complaining about something my drivatar did in game.
Overall, if you enjoy racing games, I would highly recommend adding this Forza to your game library. There are many events that are fun to play, many different options and challenges for online, and many cars to look at and admire. My only complaint is that as of the last time I played, the marketplace wasn’t open and I couldn’t gift a car like in the other Forza games.
Curiosity drove me to Gomo. I was enthralled by the game’s quirky aesthetics — and its awfully sully premise was a big plus— but as the proverbial cat who reached a fatal end, I would have been wise to stay away from the object of my curiosity. This is not to say Gomo is a bad game, because it isn’t. In fact, Gomo is a fairly decent — if a little straight forward — point-and-click adventure: the mechanics work, the story serves its purpose, and the team at Fishcow Studios, never fell into the genre-trap of making puzzle solutions too obscure. It’s all very functional… and nothing more.
It only took me two hours to complete the main campaign and find the three hidden objects needed to open the bonus whack-a-mole stages. Two hours isn’t a whole lot of time and yet, when the credits rolled, all I could think of how meaningless the experience felt.
To be fair, all my grips with the game may be caused by the simple fact that (and this is just a hunch) I’m not part of Gomo’s intended audience. I get this feeling particularly from the game’s lack of challenge. Every answer to a puzzle is right there, in front of you, almost shouting and pointing to itself.
Add to this the goofy animations, a story that features an alien abducting your dog for a ransom, and a great amount of slapstick humor, while lacking any kind of character development, sentiment or stand. It all hints at a product developed for a young audience.
For the most part Gomo is a decent point-and-click adventure game. It never stays away from genre conventions and it never tries to, opting safety over risk. When looked through the eyes of a child new to gaming the game’s design and challenge makes sense; without that filter, all falls apart: it is too easy, too short, too conventional and too conservative. A month from now I won’t remember Gomo.
Jumping around and killing things is, for some indeterminate reason, the core mechanic of a large portion of video games today. Wooden Sen’Sey is an indie platformer set in a vaguely Japanese world. The intro cutscene was a bit difficult to understand, but I got the general idea that an alien entity had attacked my village and stolen all the liquor. It’s not a bad way to start a game, and certainly less stereotypical than a princess being carried off by a large turtle.
Fluid controls and colorful environments make the game a joy to traverse, with the exception of a submarine section with clunky movement and only one type of attack. Another surprising thing in Wooden Sen’Sey’s vibrant expression of Japan is the uninspired enemy design. A majority of the baddies are simply black blobs with eyes— it almost feels like the artists ran out of time.
Combat in Wooden Sen’Sey is solid — equipped with God-of-War-esque axes on the ends of chains, smashing and slicing enemies is smooth and satisfying. Throwing your axes at certain ceilings allows you to swing on the chains, providing an intuitive and enjoyable traversal mechanic.
The real difficulty in Wooden Sen’Sey isn’t in the combat, though — sections of precision platforming and very lethal environments present a good challenge for the experienced platformer, but also have the potential to really slow down the experience for those enjoying the combat aspect. This game has a slightly archaic ‘lives’ system, and dying enough times results in restarting the entire level, a very frustrating experience.
Wooden Sen’Sey isn’t revolutionary, but it is still, at points, fun. Combat and traversal are enjoyable, and the platforming, while sometimes overly challenging, is at least satisfying to complete. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for in spirit. This game won’t change your life, but it will fill your afternoon.
Another year Assassin’s Creed fans eagerly waited for the next installment after re-living Ezio Auditore da Firenze’s memories in Assassin’s Creed 2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picks up where it had left off as Desmond Miles is once again put into the Animus. The story continues in Rome as the easily likeable Ezio seeks revenge on the corrupt Borgia family, after destroying the Monteriggioni villa and murdering his uncle.
Although there is only one region to explore in the game, (as opposed to five in AC2) Rome is actually huge! Ezio can still free-run his way around the city and canter about on horseback in the surrounding countryside. Some cool stuff has been added to Brotherhood both great and small such as extra side missions, including one about the girl who Ezio once loved. Also, even little things like getting special objects in the treasure chests alongside money is good because you can use them for the all new shop quests to get more essentials.
Even though the game has developed from AC2, some elements remain (roughly) the same. You still have the ability to synchronise viewpoints but now have the fun of infiltrating the now called Borgia towers to claim back Rome bit by bit. (This reminded me of the outposts in Far Cry 3)
Character upgrades are still available as you progress through the game. If you want to get some new gleaming armor or a skull-shattering War-hammer, it’s all there for Ezio to enjoy. Brotherhood quite literally builds from the upgrade element seen in AC2. Now you can restore shops, aqueducts and buy landmarks. As long as you take out the Borgia towers first.
The gameplay is still superb and what sets it apart is that you have your own Brotherhood members who you send out on assignments. They in turn gain XP and money, so you can eventually level them up to become an assassin. You can even summon them to kill some bad guys when you get into a spot of trouble. Woohoo!
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the fantastic follow-on from Assassin’s Creed 2 that everyone expected and deserved. Get it!
Teslagrad is an amazingly unusual game in which there is no dialogue at all. The game starts with a guy carrying a baby to a house, leaves it with a woman, and then walks away. Some interval of time passes and one rainy night some guys in red storm the house. That is when you take control of a young boy, presumably the baby that was dropped off, and have to escape to an old tower.
Once in the tower you find a glove that lets you charge certain boxes or creatures with energy to turn them red or blue. The basic concept of the game is you must utilize an electromagnetic principal of opposite charges, or in this case colors, attraction. While this sounds easy, the game is far from it.
Teslagrad seems to be a game that many will/should play, but only a few will get lots of enjoyment from it. Some puzzles are just so complex that they take a while to figure out and many, many deaths result. More annoyingly some puzzles and boss fights are quickly figured out but are so difficult to achieve exactly what needs to be done without dying and having to start the fight over.
The controls for me were a bit odd and took some getting used to. I noticed that it has partial controller support so maybe using a controller would make it a tad bit easier. I can’t count how many times my character died because the control was just a bit off of what I wanted to do.
The music blended perfectly with the game and was icing on the cake of a beautiful game. The graphics aren’t realistic/live action, they are obviously hand drawn but are stunning. With no dialogue, I feel that you are forced to be just as lost as the character you control and interpret the story how you want.
There are areas around the map where some back story is acted out in a steam-punk looking “puppet-show” which you don’t have to watch, but I always looked forward to watching. Thankfully when you are standing still for a couple seconds in these areas the game zooms in so you can see the whole thing and all that happens.
I will say that if you have lots of patience and willing to restart puzzles repeatedly, then this game is well worth it and you should go buy it now. Otherwise, find someone that will let you watch them play so you can experience this exquisite game.