Far Cry 4

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I can’t say that I’ve ever truly wanted to ride an elephant in a video game. It’s never really been a major selling point for me. So when Far Cry 4‘s marketing revolved heavily around the ability to do just that, I was highly sceptical. Surely there’s more to FC4 than just riding elephants? Well, after playing the fourth installment in possibly Ubisoft’s last respected franchise, I have come to the conclusion that the answer is much more complicated than a simple yes or no.

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Particulars

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Particulars is a unique title and brand new poster child for well-rounded independent games. It demonstrates the capability of independent developers to create a moving story, believable, relatable characters, as well as amusing, functional gameplay with focused direction and honest creativity. I’ll have to justify my use of a lot of the words in that last sentence, but I suppose that’s what all these other words down here are for. While Particulars won’t be earning mainstream Game of the Year awards, SeeThrough Studios have done amazing work on this title, so I’m more than happy to affirm my appreciation. Go you, people!

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Endless Legend

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Endless Legend is an engaging and enjoyable 4X strategy game with a sharp and appealing interface and interesting creative content that is not taken advantage of to the same extent as the skill and empire upgrade systems. Coming across a new minor faction of strange frozen giants or fire-possessed skeletons is interesting before you eradicate the flock; at this point you’re left with the same empty piece of lore-ridden land in any case. The different factions you can play as, however, are explored in greater creative depth and add to replayability – it is unfortunate the same cannot be said for your enemies. Walking the well-trodden path, Endless Legend still manages to tell some interesting stories and throw some enjoyable challenges along that pleasant, well-designed path.

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A Story About My Uncle

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This may come as a surprise, but A Story About My Uncle was the first game I ever heard described as a ‘non-violent first-person platform adventure’, and as soon as I heard that description I was excited by the prospect of what that could mean. Portal without the constant harassment by GLaDOS? Flying through the skies with a sense of childlike whimsy and without worrying about being horrifically attacked? The possibilities were great. As it turned out, I managed to work out how to predict how much someone was likely to enjoy ASAMU by boiling it down to a simple question: how much do you like to grapple? If the answer is ‘so very much! I could grapple all day!’ then (spoilers for the direction of this review) this may very well be the game for you. If not, you might be in for some frustration.

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The Sims 4

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I don’t think I’ve ever heard as much negative hype about a game leading up to its release than I did with the Sims 4. Almost everything I read about it was to do with the countless removal of features from past iterations in the series, or the endless bugs that apparently rendered it completely unplayable. As someone who hasn’t really invested much time in any of the Sims games after the very first, the removal of toddlers wasn’t something that particularly bothered me. Even so, after spending a bunch of time in this entry as a relative newcomer to the series, I found the pre-release negativity to be wholly without grounding–the Sims 4 not only works, but works brilliantly. There’s just something about creating your character and have them do all the things you know you should but are too lazy to do in real life, like get a job you actually enjoy or go jogging once a day. Not many other games are capable of causing an existential crisis by realising that my character has developed the same body type as me in real life.

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The Journey Down: Chapter Two

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In June of last year I made my Select Start Media debut with a review of a charming (if slightly wacky) “classic point-and-click adventure with a black African twist” called The Journey Down. With the music and atmosphere of Monkey Island and style and character design I’d never really seen before, the game felt familiar but fresh and I enjoyed the time I spent with it. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I found out that chapter two of this interesting tale had been released more than a year later, and I was able to revisit this dark and mysterious world with the bumbling protagonist Bwana.

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Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality

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The first Memento Mori game came out in 2008, and until about six months ago it was one of those games that sat in my Steam library unplayed and unnoticed. When I found out I’d be reviewing the second one, I thought I’d do the fair thing and give it a playthrough, so that I could truly give Memento Mori 2 the thoroughly researched review that it deserved. As it turns out, I think I would have been better off if I hadn’t, because maybe then I wouldn’t have noticed some of the blaring flaws with this frequently confusing and inconsistent game.

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