Reviews For September/October

Only 4 reviews over the last two months. It would have been more, but several things have kept them from others being published on time. Late review copies, accidental double scheduling etc. My next review round up looks to be a doozy.

Divekick

What is there really to say about Divekick? I’ve never been really all that into the fighting game scene or games in general. I’ve usually owned at least one for some matches with friends when they’re over as they’re generally good party games with a quick turnover. I’m not exactly someone who finds brilliance in the minutia of physical details that fighting games are known for. On the other hand, Divekick is probably as perfect example of what video game minimalism looks like without going full on stick figures. What is one to do, but wax poetic for 800 words on just that.

Europa Universalis IV

Apparently PopMatters gets offered Paradox codes quite often, but since no one on call every plays them they’ve been relegated to the sidelines. Since my becoming enamored with Crusader Kings II, Chris Williams pawned Europa Universalis IV off on me almost immediately. I am so lucky that a good majority of the game’s interface and mechanics are lifted from Crusader Kings II, because playing the game took long enough without having to a completely new system at that level of complexity. It’s also one of those games there’s no point in describing in great detail, because A you’ll be there for pages only to cover a small fraction and B how it plays is far less interesting that the outcomes of said play.

The Inquisitor, The Plague

The Inquisitor: The Plague is a perfect example of why I end up getting most of the point and click adventure games. They can be byzantine and frustrating to a fault as the game struggles for reasons for you to do things out of some obligation to historical standards and expectations. Adventures games aren’t difficult to build, but to build well. They rely on a thought process and not everyone thinks the same way. It’s a fascinating study in mitigation and exacerbation of the problem at the same time. I feel a lot of the game’s directional problems come from the fact we don’t think like the Inquisitor and get lost with what his overall goal is. The only recommendable thing about the game is the dark charisma of the main character, but I’d just as soon recommend the book series the game is based on instead.

Cognition episode 4

And finally we come to the end of the episodic serial killer thriller Cognition: An Erica Reed Mystery. The series has shown a steady increase in quality with each subsequent episode culminating in this one. It’s shorter, tighter and concludes the adventure on a high note. I got the whole game on Steam and tried out the first episode and found they went back and re-optimized it so the pain in the neck half second loading after every click is gone. I don’t give it a blanket recommendation. You have to know what you are getting into with it. It’s an airport thriller novel or possible prime-time TV miniseries. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s more than capable at what it does. And that it goes and throws some thematic meaning on top.

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