Portal (2007)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
Action, FPS, 3D Puzzle Modern (2001-2010) Valve Valve Sci-fi, Rogue AI, Human test subject, Teleportation

Portal is a highly acclaimed innovative 3D puzzle platformer developed by Valve. In this short game you play as a human subject of scientific experimentation, held captive in a corporation controlled by a rogue AI. What appears at first as a series of harmless trials for teleportation devices invented by the corporation, soon reveals itself as devious traps devised by the rogue AI to see you get brutally killed. When you realize this, you start to disregard the AI’s instructions leading you to certain death, and start making your way to its control room. Eventually you have to evade all the traps and crack ingenuous puzzles in order to reach the room where the AI is located and destroy it. As such the story is hardly important, but the puzzles are what constitute the heart of the game.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Easy
Complexity 0: Simple
Story 0.5: A fixed objective
Lore 0.5: Portal series
Immersion 0: None
Difficulty 0: Low
Learning Curve 0: Easy
Total Score 1/7: Lightweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 3: Well met. Puzzles to solve.
Creative 2: Moderately met. Different ways to solve. Out of the box thinking.
Mastery 2: Moderately met
Destructive 0: Not met
Entertainment 0: Not met
Pace 3: Well met
Horror 0: Not met
Total Score 10/21: Good Game

Game Review

TL;DR A very good game with ingenuous puzzles to crack. A must buy.

Pros

  • Robust gameplay
  • Ingenuous puzzles
  • Real innovation in terms of gameplay

Cons

  • Short

Game completed.

Game-time 7 hrs.

Purpose – Challenge, Relaxation

Gameplay – It is simply perfect.

Graphics – Good and based on the Source engine of Half-life 2.

Performance – Smooth as butter.

Entertainment – This game is not designed for entertainment purposes.

Plot (if applicable) – Has a plot but it is not the main focus of the game.

Replay value – Good replay value, as the puzzles can be solved in various ways.

Immersion – No immersion.

Overall-  A very good game in terms or innovation; critically acclaimed as well. A must buy for any gamer.

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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
RPG, Action adventure, Open world, Sandbox Modern (2001 -2010) Bethesda Bethesda Medieval, Fantasy, Magic

Once in a while, in the world of games, arrives such exceptional products like TES III: Morrowind. This game can be considered near perfect, and one of the most complete packages you will ever come across as far as games are concerned. It is a hardcore RPG, with solid combat system, deep levels of immersion, full freedom of choices, vast open world, sandbox gameplay, complex customization, crafting, rich lore, and a deep dark mystifying story of corruption and power among other attractions and features. Although pretty old, you get fantastic mods to improve your graphical experience. In the game, you start as a nobody – a prisoner sent to the island of Vvardenfell in the province of Morrowind. Your task is to unearth the mysterious cause of the blight that is affecting the island and its creatures, and various related problems, of which some are political in nature. You start from the bottom and slowly work your way up one or the other of the ruling houses in the island, while gathering experience by working for the various guilds. Soon you start uncovering the destiny you have been entrusted to fulfill, as you come to terms with your growing power and influence, and you discover the freedom you have to forge the destiny of the island and its people. And all this in the surreal and unique natural setting of Morrowind, with its giant mushrooms and cliff racers. The island is as dangerous as beautiful it looks, with all types of nasty monsters lurking around. Other types of enemies include bandits, smugglers, rogue mages, daedra, and members of rival houses, as well as guards if you go on a criminal spree! Just buy this game and enjoy.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Simple
Complexity 1: Complex (inventory, trading items, character creation, factions)
Story 1: There is a story (a very good one)
Lore 1: World of Elder Scrolls
Immersion 1: Very immersive roleplay
Difficulty 0.5: Moderate
Learning Curve 1: Very steep
Total Score 5.5/7: Heavyweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 3: Well met (map reading, trading, puzzles, character alignment, character creation, choices, factions, etc.)
Creative 2: Moderately met (environmental interaction, spell-crafting, alchemy, base building)
Mastery 3: Well met
Destructive 2: Moderately met
Entertainment 3: Well met
Pace 2: Moderately met
Horror 2: Moderately met
Total Score 17/21: Exceptional Game

Game Review

TL;DR Arguably, the best ever hardcore action-adventure RPG to date, also one of the most immersive. An absolute must have for hardcore RPG fans.

Pros

  • Weapons, spells, alchemy, and loot
  • Robust progression system
  • Hardcore RPG features
  • Immersive
  • Good story
  • Vast open world
  • High level of freedom

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Combat control scheme needs to get used to
  • Lack of in-game guidance

Game completed. DLCs in progress.

Game-time 244 hrs.

Purpose – Entertainment, Challenge, and Study

Gameplay – Gameplay is very solid. Hardcore RPG elements, unforgiving, and tight. You must save frequently, and in different slots in order to brave the difficulties as well as the occasional bugs.

Graphics – Good for its time but will feel too crude for today’s standards, hence there are excellent mods, MGSO being one of the most stable packages.

Performance – Good.

Entertainment – Very good story. Deep sense of foreboding, darkness, power, corruption, mystery, and redemption.

Plot (if applicable) –Good plot.

Replay value – Immense replay value. Innumerable choices regarding character creation, joining of guilds, joining of factions, character growth, etc. Every time you play, your experience will be different, almost like a new game altogether.

Immersion – Immersive RPG. Day-night cycles and weather. NPC routines. Interactive environment and objects. Basebuilding. Spell-crafting, alchemy and a lot more to discover as well as plethora of mods to enhance your immersion experience.

Overall it is a solid, meaty, and memorable experience which you will cherish for a long time. Possibly, it will be the best game you ever played. For me it is, till date.

Syberia 2 (2004)

Info

Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
Adventure, Point-n-Click Modern (post 2000) Benoit Sokal Microids Surrealistic, Steam punk, Dreams, Mechanical Automata Toys

Syberia 2 is the sequel to Syberia (2002). Like its predecessor, it is also a surrealistic adventure game with beautiful art style and cunning puzzles, only a little less dream-like. The story is continuation of Syberia (2002). The primary theme of the game is mechanical automata toys and an autistic visionary obsessed with mammoths. You play the role of Kate Walker, an american lawyer sent to France, to finalize the sale of an automata toy factory, following the death of the owner. You find out about an existing heir, and therefore fail to conclude the deal. Instead, you embark on a magical journey in search of this mysterious heir, who seems to be long lost in his obsessive pursuit of sighting present day mammoths in Siberia. At the end of Syberia (2002) you managed to find this heir and followed him onward in his journey to find mammoths. Syberia 2 starts here. Throughout your journey you meet interesting characters and solve puzzles. It is an enriching experience, and a revelation of the surreal and weird side of imagination. Go for it!

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Point and click
Complexity 0: No complexity
Story 1: There is a story
Lore 0.5: Is itself a sequel and another in the making
Immersion 0.5: Easy to get into the shoes of the character
Difficulty 0.5: Frustrating at some points, but not as difficult as the preceding title
Learning Curve 0: Easy
Total Score 2.5/7: Lightweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 2: Moderately met (Puzzles, Riddles)
Creative 0: Not met
Mastery 0: Not met
Destructive 0: Not met
Entertainment 3: Well met (Interesting, unique, and touching story)
Pace 0: Not met
Horror 0: Not met
Total Score 5/21: Moderate Game

Game Review

TL;DR  A well made adventure game with unique and beautiful art style, challenging puzzles, well designed gameplay and interface, and a very touching surrealistic story.

Pros

  • Beautiful and unique art style
  • Good and unique story

Cons

  • Some puzzles are really hard to figure out
  • At certain points, the game becomes a bit of a drag and boring
  • Items that needs to be used are sometimes completely camouflaged within the background (almost like hidden object games)

Game completed.

Purpose – Entertainment, Challenge, Relaxation

Gameplay – Okay for a point-n-click adventure.

Graphics – Nice style and pretty good for its time.

Performance – Okay.

Entertainment – Good script and dialog. Good voice-acting. Strange mysterious characters. Overall very good entertainment.

Plot (if applicable) – Very touching and unique story.

Replay value – Although nothing really changes, and gameplay is absolutely linear, still the charm of the game will bring you back to it again and again.

Immersion – Should not really apply for a point-n-click adventure game, but it actually is a wee bit immersive as you get to empathize with the protagonist very easily.

Overall a good solid point-n-click adventure in all traditional glory.