Geek Citadel http://www.geekcitadel.com Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:13:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Bullet Points – Ryse: Son of Rome Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/24/bullet-points-ryse-son-rome-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/24/bullet-points-ryse-son-rome-review/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:13:57 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6770 I never expected to play Ryse: Son of Rome on PC since it was touted as an Xbox One exclusive. I remember seeing this game back at E3 and pre-judging it as a Dynasty Warriors clone almost immediately. I was wrong about it being anywhere near as straight-forward in its approach. It instead mimics the […]

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I never expected to play Ryse: Son of Rome on PC since it was touted as an Xbox One exclusive. I remember seeing this game back at E3 and pre-judging it as a Dynasty Warriors clone almost immediately. I was wrong about it being anywhere near as straight-forward in its approach. It instead mimics the free-flow combat of Batman as closely as possible with a violent and linear emphasis.

What we liked

Ryse Murk City

  • Absolutely gorgeous visuals that make great use of a powerful PC. There aren’t many games that have detail and fantastic facial animations like this. The Voice actors do a great job of passing as Russell Crowe and roman James Bond It has a slick soundtrack that meshes up well with the epic battlefield combat.

 

  • Bone jarring and visceral combat is the highlight of the game. Blades pierce through the flesh as blood washes blood flows out like a tidal wave. Death has somehow transformed into an art form in Ryse, and Marius is the artist.

Love/Hate Relationship

  • The revenge story doesn’t try hard enough to be different. It shoehorns in some kind of mythology surrounding gods that doesn’t fit well with the overarching plot. We already knew this was a story of good vs. evil, the inclusion of deities only serve to downplay the heroes thirst for vengeance. Imagine For a second that Batman constantly failed on his quest for vengeance, and Superman would show up and say “Hey, you can’t give up now, you’re almost there buddy, aren’t you Batman?”

What we didn’t like

Ryse Throw

  • Quick-Time event executions got old after the first stage. You can’t really avoid using them since there are buffs like damage that let Marius destroy his foes faster or experience boasts for earning better skills.

 

  • Minor graphical glitches like floating shields can take you out of the combat zone.

 

  • The I tends to strike at Marius two at a time and don’t attempt to swarm him in the slightest. They also tend to repeat the same combat patterns, and easily fall prey to murderous blows.

 

  • Combat isn’t as fluid or quick as other Arkham based games. Marius is slower and more deliberate in his strikes, and that means enemies with more stamina end up taking longer to put down.

 

  • The Shooting gallery and Shield sequences are a novelty that run out just as fast as the executions. The idea of arrows blotting out the sky loses its appeal after blocking arrows from dimwitted Arrow rejects. The shooting portions are focused on guarding against dull enemy waves.

Conclusion

Ryse: Son of Rome is a game that focuses more on being beautiful instead of unique. The flashy graphics are dulled by a not so fancy combat system with stiff animations and forced Quick-Time-Events. Geek Citadel gives Ryse: Son of Rome 3 stars out of 5. This title has phenomenal visuals as per usual of Crytek titles, but the average story and dull game play don’t do it any favors.

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Bullet Points – NBA 2K15 Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/22/bullet-points-nba-2k15-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/22/bullet-points-nba-2k15-review/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:59:44 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6761 Last year NBA 2K14 dazzled us with new visuals and impressive features. NBA 2K15 hopes to improve on presentation and game play with updated Career, GM, and MYPark modes. We’re here to provide some bullet points of the stuff we liked and disliked in this review. What we liked Presentation is livelier and it better […]

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Last year NBA 2K14 dazzled us with new visuals and impressive features. NBA 2K15 hopes to improve on presentation and game play with updated Career, GM, and MYPark modes. We’re here to provide some bullet points of the stuff we liked and disliked in this review.

What we liked

NBA 2K15 Rockets

  • Presentation is livelier and it better represents a basketball game. The Half-time show has choreographed cheerleaders and a pep talk from the coach. The Pre-Game show is a great addition even if it’s just there for Shaq to be hilarious.
  • Excellent soundtrack selection from Pharrell Williams. Varied styles of music on display as opposed to domination by a single genre.
  • MYGM is daunting as a mode and has an astounding amount of detail from talking to players to setting the market price of tickets.
  • Career Mode has taken a brand new direction after constantly focusing on the draft, and instead forces a rookie to scrape by through a 10-day contract to make it onto a team.
  • Social Media is now interactive, players can say hello to friends, trash talk opponents, or promote businesses for sponsorship.
  • More NBA Influence in career mode from the players and coach involvement. Players will try to take the rookie under their wing, and the coach will do PowerPoint presentations and call practice scrimmages when things go wrong.
  • Attribute System revamped and does away with individual stats. There are six columns to choose from that categorize older stats into one single area. For example, all defensive movements like steals and blocks are under the Defender tab.
  • Players now earn badges during the career mode by playing a certain way. This also goes for skill point upgrades that unlock from playing the mode. This assures that people can’t just buy VC to make a 99 rated character out of the gate.
  • Players can now choose crowd intro music and arena sounds for scoring high profile moves.
  • Basketball is one of the few sports I would actually watch if I didn’t play games all the time. So it’s great that there is a new defender window in MyPlayer mode that shows the stats of a person I am currently guarding. All previous iterations before it would pretend like I knew every player on the court.

Love/Hate Relationship

  • Some players look fantastic but others like Chris Bosh will look like they’ve been hitting the crack rock too often. Lebron for instance looks as if he has the body of a prepubescent little boy.
  • Career choices boil down to being a nice guy or being an asshole. And if you do act like a prima donna at any time you’ll receive a guilt trip for it from the receiver or fans.

What we didn’t like

NBA 2K15 Dunk

  • Passing still doesn’t properly designate where the player wants it to go. This is something that wasn’t even a problem in Super Nintendo basketball games. The ball is also floats around and appears in hands for rebounds and passes.
  • Practice games don’t reward the player with VC but they make you play five minutes of them regardless.
  • Teammates still refuse to take open shots when they have them. The player can throw a wide open pass under the court and they will throw it back.
  • Animations can tend to get in the way of gameplay and movement. Players will often feel like they aren’t always in complete control of their character. The computer always looks like they are reacting and moving better than anything you could ever pull off.
  • Game functions on queued button presses for actions. So if by any means you’ve pressed jump twice, when the player lands they will attempt to jump again even if a play has unfolded already.
  • MyPark is only for the most hardcore of players as the penalty for losing or not being a ball hog is much too high. You will barely earn VC unless you’re winning and you won’t earn much ranking as a result.
  • Server issues have caused tons of disconnections that make MyPark inaccessible to players or downright unplayable.
  • Commentary on positions not the actual player themselves. The commentators will say something like “You wouldn’t expect a dunk out of someone that size,” when the player is 6’6 at the Point Guard position.
  • Stupid timeouts and substitutions that happen at the end of a quarter. Even after the next quarter the player will have to be subbed back in to keep playing.
  • I. will decide to do illegal picks that don’t make sense. It’s almost always at the 3-point line when the point-guard is running the ball up the floor.

Conclusion

NBA 2K15 is still the best simulation basketball game on the market. NBA Live has a lot to challenge when it releases later this year. I’ve got my minor gripes about the gameplay but it’s still one of the most realistic looking sports games ever. NBA 2K15 receives four stars out of five from Geek Citadel. Every year NBA 2Kgets closer and closer to the real thing.

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Geek Citadel Plays – The Evil Within http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/20/geek-citadel-plays-evil-within/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/20/geek-citadel-plays-evil-within/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:47:59 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6758 Is The Evil Within a game that I can play for an hour? I guess it is, because that’s exactly what I did! Go ahead and check out the video.

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Is The Evil Within a game that I can play for an hour? I guess it is, because that’s exactly what I did! Go ahead and check out the video.

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Geek Citadel Plays – Alien Isolation http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/18/geek-citadel-plays-alien-isolation/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/18/geek-citadel-plays-alien-isolation/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 23:51:15 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6754 We take a trip into the dark with Ripley as we play the pre-order DLC of Alien Isolation for forty five minutes.

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We take a trip into the dark with Ripley as we play the pre-order DLC of Alien Isolation for forty five minutes.

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Geek Citadel – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/15/geek-citadel-gabriel-knight-sins-fathers-20th-anniversary-edition-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/15/geek-citadel-gabriel-knight-sins-fathers-20th-anniversary-edition-review/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:59:52 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6748 Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is an adventure game classic. It was full of adult humor and powered by a dark mystery surrounding voodoo. HD Remakes are now the nature of the game, and Gabriel Knight is next to get its upgrade. It does away with the 2D visuals of the first game and […]

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Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is an adventure game classic. It was full of adult humor and powered by a dark mystery surrounding voodoo. HD Remakes are now the nature of the game, and Gabriel Knight is next to get its upgrade. It does away with the 2D visuals of the first game and takes its steps into a fully realized 3D world.

For those who don’t know about the story of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, it follows a charismatic novelist who gets involved in a murder case. He’s been having terrible dreams that depict him dying a specific death, and soon he’ll discover that they lead to even more problems. Gabriel will travel across the city investigating the “Voodoo Murders” for his book. He will find love and intrigue as he tries to discover the secret behind the murders in New Orleans.

The Anniversary Edition makes some major changes from the original. The visual bump from 2D to 3D is the obvious change, with many of the key areas and characters re-imagined for higher resolutions. Even the comic book scenes have been changed to include better art and speech baloons. It definitely looks much better than the classic version, but it loses all of the nostalgia factor for those that have already played it. Despite a few odd animations when moving around the title is a beautiful recreation of the classic.

Gabriel Knight 3

Interacting with objects and moving around the city is easier than ever. Simply double tapping an area will teleport Gabriel to a certain point in the room. A new icon now allows players to quickly leave an area and head to the world map at any time. No more waiting through long animations to wait for in a game with tons of backtracking.

That’s a staple of classic adventure games but this HD remake makes some changes to how the story unravels. Certain aspects of the story and puzzles are shifted around among the various days. For example, in the original game Gabriel would visit his grandmother on the first day. In the new version he doesn’t visit her until the week is nearly over. It’s subtle little changes like this that adds a welcome freshness to a familiar story.

Fans of the classic will notice that the voices have changed for many of their favorite characters. Anyone that has played the original would be familiar with the popping and static in the original game. Sadly, Tim Curry, Mark Hamil, and many others were not able to re-record their voices. Instead, they have been replaced by a whole new cast who try to replicate the voices as much as they can. They do a fairly great job at sounding like the original characters, and some voices actually sound better than the original. The only change I miss is Leah Remini’s fiesty run as Grace Nakamura.

The upgraded animations are the best improvements to the title. You can actually tell what everyone is actually doing on-screen. It comes at a small sacrifice however, as there are zones where the world feels less alive because of ambience removal. The crime scene was hectic when Gabriel reaches the location in the first game, but it seems much calmer in the upgraded version. Also, the police station doesn’t have that lively hustle and bustle about it anymore.

Gabriel Knight 2

It’s good that the upgraded puzzle design outweighs a few removed animations. No more randomly clicking on pixels to find a snake scale in the sand. U.I. upgrades and of course cleaner graphics improve the experience from the original. The puzzles in Gabriel Knight have always been well thought-out (besides that awful clock puzzle.) Now Gabriel has a journal to keep up with current events for the day, and if all else fails a new hint system is in place to help players push through the story.

My only real complaints come from the puzzles that allow players to clear manual input. Some of them have incredibly long strings, but the player will only be able to clear all the text instead of deleting a single character. Another problem I have is the strange speech baloons during the comic book cutscenes. Maybe it is the extensions that block the visuals on screen, but I just think it looks out of place and unnecessary.

Do any of these changes make the Anniversary Edition better than the original? That’s going to be subjective to anyone that’s played the first game. There are always going to be games that we mesh more with and don’t want touched (Chrono Trigger, I’m looking at you) but for people who don’t mind seeing games upgraded, you can’t go wrong with this remake. It’s a fantastic recreation of a classic title, and it even features some behind the scenes content from the original game for the nostalgic. Geek Citadel gives Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition 4 stars out of 5. A lot has changed to bring this classic to the HD world, but it’s still very much a classic.

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Geek Citadel – Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/10/geek-citadel-middle-earth-shadow-mordor-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/10/geek-citadel-middle-earth-shadow-mordor-review/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:35:11 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6729 Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor returns us to the world that Tolkien built. Instead of focusing on well-known characters from the book, this time we take control of Talion. Talion is a Ranger of Gondor who has suffered a horrific loss at the hands of Saurons’ forces. During his death rattle his body is imbued […]

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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor returns us to the world that Tolkien built. Instead of focusing on well-known characters from the book, this time we take control of Talion. Talion is a Ranger of Gondor who has suffered a horrific loss at the hands of Saurons’ forces. During his death rattle his body is imbued with the spirit of an elven wraith. The Wraith has no memory of his past, but he knows that he and his family were wronged.

Together Talion and the Wraith head out into Mordor to find The Black Hand of Sauron. The story focuses on the two searching for The Black Hand and collecting artifacts for recovering Wraiths’ memory. In essence, the story is a means to shove us into taking on the various armies distributed around Mordor. Talion and The Wraith are like Grim and Grimmer, they both seem to share the same depressing view of the world. Seeing as the both of them are trapped between life and death by fate, it is vastly appropriate to the story.

This does not make them likeable characters by any means, and their grim take on the world will often cause a few eye rolls. I don’t mind my characters being bleak, but if they don’t seem to have some sort of hopeful confidence… well what’s the point? It didn’t take me long to stop listening to their depressing tales and instead focus on the gameplay. I will say that the Orcs and Uruks are far more interesting as characters, even if they come off as hard asses most of the time.

Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor creates something new and spectacular for the player to lose themselves in. The hierarchy system is unlike anything I’ve seen in a game before. Uruks will battle it out for supremacy and struggle for power to take the position of their peers. They have their own goals, specific skillsets, and even distinct personalities. Your goal is to weaken the army by slaughtering their leadership and replacing them with backstabbing Uruks of your own. This is accomplished by finding information from other Uruks or slaves in the nearby camps. Talion can even issue Death Threats to bolster the strength of an Uruks to earn better loot.

Monolith has gone a long way to capture the combat of the Batman series. By that, I mean… it’s the exact same system with a sword instead of punches and kicks. Every battle takes on the combo infused fighting style of the Arkham games, from finishers to the flurry of attacks… this game has copied the combat completely. They even share the exact enemy same enemy variety. Instead of a Ninja from Arkham, you will instead fight a Berserker who counters each normal attack.

That goes to say that anyone that has ever played those games will instantly be familiar with the swing, counter, and flip gameplay style. It adapts similar scaling and movement from games such as Assassin’s Creed. Players can easily vault over objects, climb tall buildings, and parkour between various obstacles. Some would say that Shadow of Mordor does everything right, as it even incorporates a fully realized and fluid stealth system.

Talion can easily stay out of sight from his enemies and get the drop on them from cover or from the sky. Combat is enhanced by a simplistic abilities tree, and a robust loot based upgrade tree. Killing Captains will reward the player with runes that they can attach to Talions’ weapons. Each of these range from random percentage rolls of white, blue, and epic.

Shadow of Mordor 1

Gearing Talion for combat comes down to an analytically designed function of knowing all the moves. Eventually you’ll just settle for whatever the highest numbers are on defense and attack, and maybe for regaining focus. Talion also makes use of a bow that he can use to snipe or teleport himself towards an enemy. He also has a varied assortment of special moves that can send enemies flying, or leave them with a headache that they can never recover from.

In the end, the combat is extremely satisfying if not a bit repetitive. Since Talion doesn’t naturally get stronger over time, combat comes down to staggering enemies with combos and trying to get finishers. Luckily, the hierarchy system of running about and challenging Captains is fantastic. Players can interrupt feasts, stop executions, or even become the deciding factor in duels between Uruks. Other side-missions have players taking on stealth challenges, or Batman style arena combat to forge powerful weapons.

Traveling around Mordor can be achieved by running around on foot or hopping a ride on the vicious Caragors. Shadow of Mordor is a stunning world that mixes the desolate lands of Udun, with the vibrancy of Nurn. It’s thanks to the beefy system requirements required for Shadow of Mordor to run at a pristine level. A HD download pack was released for the PC version that allows for Ultra texture settings, but his requires at least 6 gigabytes of Video Ram. I personally have a GTX 980 and was forced to run the game on High texture settings, but I maxed out the rest of the settings.

I was able to run the game at 65 – 80 frames per second depending on the area. This is amazing since the game has up 60+ Uruks onscreen amongst vast amounts of particle effects, and some detailed texture on character models as well. Shadow of Mordor looks fantastic and the Lord of the Rings soundtrack supports the action perfectly. The voice acting is great and each of the characters  have a deep attachment to the world, and it feels good to hear Gollum ranting like a mad man again.

Shadow of Mordor 2

If I had any complaints about the game itself, it would be the idea of completely taking the Arkham combat system. Mordor has thousands of Uruks waiting to be killed by our champion. I’m finally ready for a game to wake up and allow me to instantly kill or injure enemies in one or two slashes. As long as these enemies are replaced by another viable enemy to slaughter, the need for hitting them with a nerf sword will be obsolete. This would only change if the enemy has heavy armor on that the player would systematically break with their weapon.

Who would have thought that a return to Middle Earth would have turned out so well? Slashing Uruk after Uruk to bits is entertainment I wasn’t expecting. Geek Citadel gives Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor four stars out of five. This title takes a tried and true combat system to its core, and inserts its own gameplay mechanic that fleshes out a fantastic game.

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Geek Citadel Plays – Ryse: Son of Rome http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/09/geek-citadel-plays-ryse-son-rome/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/09/geek-citadel-plays-ryse-son-rome/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 00:25:56 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6724 We spend some time with the PC version of Ryse: Son of Rome. Come join us as we slice and dice our way through the barbarian army with Marius.

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We spend some time with the PC version of Ryse: Son of Rome. Come join us as we slice and dice our way through the barbarian army with Marius.

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Geek Citadel – Styx: Master of Shadows Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/07/geek-citadel-styx-master-shadows-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/10/07/geek-citadel-styx-master-shadows-review/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:39:44 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6704 Styx is a goblin in a world full of Elves, Orcs, and Men. He is one of a kind in this world, as many people have never seen his race before. He is also a thief with a deep connection to a tree filled with a magical substance named Amber. Styx is captured by the […]

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Styx is a goblin in a world full of Elves, Orcs, and Men. He is one of a kind in this world, as many people have never seen his race before. He is also a thief with a deep connection to a tree filled with a magical substance named Amber. Styx is captured by the humans at the end of his journey and spills the beans as to why he came to find the World Tree. He recounts the beginning of the story with how he went from amnesiac to slick shadowy assassin.

The story follows our small assassin through his adventure to find this tree and drown out the voices in his head. He starts in a prison and sneaks his way through various locales to broaden the story. The only real problem with this is that you probably won’t give a damn. The point of the game is to find the World Tree and take possession of its innards. That’s about all there is to the story, go to a place, steal something, and return to the hideout. There is some deep lore in there about the elves and humans fighting over the Amber… but not many will care.

The main reason I say this is the way that the game is designed. Simply put, Styx: Master of Shadows is one of the most archaic stealth games I’ve played in years. In its defense it has a nice idea on its side to try to separate it from other games of the genre. Styx can use the amber to spit out a clone and use it to move about the area, or even grab a hold of enemies so he can kill them. He can also turn completely invisible, and use “Amber Vision” to highlight enemies and hidden platforms.

Styx 1

Beyond those little tidbits of interest, everything that would already be available in games like Metal Gear, Shadows of Mordor, or Splinter Cell are hidden behind skillsets. For example, the simple act of pulling an enemy behind cover and killing them is something you have to put skill points into. The same goes for attacking enemies from the ceiling or from a ledge. The best you get for long stretches of gameplay is the ability to lean against walls.

Design wise, it’s obvious this is supposed to be a stealth title. If it isn’t supposed to be one, then someone should have told the combat system. Whenever Styx is detected by an enemy, he’ll have to get into a melee scrap like other heroes. His definition of combat is waiting for an enemy to strike and parrying it. It’s so dull of a system that you’ll probably immediately restart to avoid having to fight get into a melee battle.

The game works on an autosave system that basically chooses whichever checkpoints it sees fit. The only way to know if you’re going to actually reach a save point is after completing objectives. Styx can walk around earning trinkets and exploring different avenues for 10 to 20 minutes and not hit a save point. So if he’s clobbered by bad guys or makes one mistake, he’ll have to start the entire zone from the beginning.

Styx 2

That’s not saying that the stealth system doesn’t pass the “average” gameplay test. It actually passes with flying colors, but it never passes the average mark and often dips below it. This could be due to the lack of simple stealth mechanics introduced at the start of the game. Players will be unable to free themselves from the age of the title for the first couple of levels. Even silent kills require Styx to hold down a button for 3 seconds to eliminate them. Even worse, enemies can’t be picked up after the culmination of a silent kill. You have to way until they spill on the floor before picking them up and carrying them away.

 

Styx is a pretty game on the outside. It features a heavily detailed world with an emphasis on Cloud City themed heights. The interiors are incredibly detailed and the level structures offer an open-ended structure to getting around. The animations are the dark side of the title, they are often stiff and for lack of a better word – Janky looking. Cutscenes reveal the animation woes every time Styx is talking to another person. They also spill over into the gameplay with stiff movement and takedown animations. The voice acting isn’t that good either. Most anyone that isn’t Styx would be serving the game better by shutting up.

Styx is for a very particular crowd of gamers out there in the world. You have to have a mindset that you’re going to be playing a game similar to the old Thief games in 3rd person. Except that it won’t play as well as a 3rd person game should, and it also won’t capture the enclosed feeling of playing Thief. Geek Citadel gives Styx: Master of Shadows 2 stars out of five. There are much more appealing Stealth games out there like Splinter Cell, Metal Gear, and Dishonored. However, at the budget price of $29 I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Geek Citadel Plays – Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/09/30/geek-citadel-plays-middle-earth-shadow-mordor/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/09/30/geek-citadel-plays-middle-earth-shadow-mordor/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:38:40 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6700 Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has arrived and we play an hour and thirty minutes of it. This footage was taken directly from our Twitch stream.

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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has arrived and we play an hour and thirty minutes of it. This footage was taken directly from our Twitch stream.

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Geek Citadel – The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Review http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/09/29/geek-citadel-vanishing-ethan-carter-review/ http://www.geekcitadel.com/2014/09/29/geek-citadel-vanishing-ethan-carter-review/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 05:10:16 +0000 http://www.geekcitadel.com/?p=6688 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an atmospheric thriller that focuses on the mysterious town of Red Creek Valley. You play as a detective with a supernatural sense for seeing things that the normal world would miss. It’s his job to move through an eerie forest and uncover the secrets of this lost child and […]

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an atmospheric thriller that focuses on the mysterious town of Red Creek Valley. You play as a detective with a supernatural sense for seeing things that the normal world would miss. It’s his job to move through an eerie forest and uncover the secrets of this lost child and his family members.The Vanishing of Ethan Carter 1

Silence is the key aspect on moving around through this layered world of discovery. The majestic forest and beautifully designed landscape are what makes this title as glorious as it is. The ambient noise of animals, and the crinkling of grass as you walk are keys the enjoying the game. It’s the environment that draws you into Red Creek Valley, the lush vegetation creates a unique stillness that’s not often seen in video games.

A lot of people will liken this game to a horror title but it’s so much more than that. I don’t throw the name “Experience” around too often, but that’s exactly what The Vanishing of Ethan Carter accomplishes. I spent a variety of my time taking in the sights of the often mesmerizing surroundings. It felt as if I went on a vacation to a serene locale where I could bask in the wonders of nature. Even with that idea of comfort, there was always something around to push me on to further discovery.

Gameplay combines the exploration and puzzle elements of Myst with a heavy investigative nature of a detective adventure game. Without spilling too many of the beans about the story, the major elements come in the form of resolving ghostly mysteries. Whether it be chasing an astronaut through the forest, or recounting the events of a possible homicide. The trail crumbs all lead to notes that reveal the insight of a boy with a story to tell.

It’s a narrative affair and you aren’t just along for the ride. You’ll watch words appear out of thin air with logical hints, or use keen senses to form portals to discover hidden items to piece a case together. It’s not a difficult game because the focus is on the story and the ambiance of Red Creek. The keyboard is for movement and the mouse is for interaction. That’s as far as the control scheme goes, it’s a simple but elegant way to play that quickly becomes second nature.

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I can’t find the words to explain how much the visuals delight the senses, but it’s not just because they are beautiful… it’s the wonderment that arises from the inventive discoveries in the world. I gained a sense of enlightenment as I discovered some out of this world places. The sound design fantastically creates a realistic world, and small musical cues play through the silence to inform players of completed puzzles. It’s the voice acting that can often derail the credibility of the humans in the world. Everyone that isn’t the narrating detective has a bland and generic voice. They often read the script out of sync with the emotional content during events.

Tons of people have had the debate about whether or not a video game can be art. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of those titles that showcases that video games can be an as wonderful as any statue or painting. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter receives four stars out of five from Geek Citadel. This may not be the longest or most difficult game, but it dares to take us on a thrilling vacation to a strange and wondrous place.

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