Nephise : a simple game, good setting, good music, but the in game instructions didn’t work.

The Hunting God : good stuff.

Heavy Rain : this looked like it should be interesting. One minor bug: it had the wrong mouse button assignments and wouldn’t let me correct its error. The first scene starts in a bedroom. After wandering around it, I opened a wardrobe, and the game got stuck. No matter what I tried to do, the dolly just stood there blinking stupidly. The game refused to respond to any commands.

image: concrete

I found a way round that mess (FFS, very 80s: switch it off and switch it on again), but it must be said the movement controls are totally dismal. Whether forward moves the dolly forward or in some other direction seems to be completely random. I don’t play to spend time playing game where most of the time will be spent finding out random direction the forward backward left and right keys send the dolly. The visuals are good, but the controls are shite. I’m not wasting any more time on it.

Still Life 1 : a very good, powerful, point–and–click whodunnit. The music is superb, a great change from the insipid pissing music in the otherwise excellent Outer Worlds. The visuals are good, especially for their era, and the (especially commissioned?) paintings are pretty powerful. My only real complaint is the puzzles; they interrupt the flow of the story for no good reason.

The plot is based on a cliché, but was otherwise well put together. It has shades of Sara Paretsky’s VI Warshawski books. You play a female FBI agent in Chicago hunting a serial killer, supported by a female medic. In the second strand of the game, you play a Private Eye in Prague hunting a serial killer. The whole thing is very nicely and effectively assembled.

The game got me emotionally.

Still Life 2 : I started it, and found the opening impact to be too strong. I’ll replay it if I ever get put on Prozac.

Nikipol : I got this game as an add–on freebie to something else. I got immediately put off by the first step, where you have to choose what kind of fool you are. Not my cup of tea.

Morels : I started playing it, and found its control reassignment is a mess. I reassigned something to use a mouse button, and the command that already used that button wasn’t de-assigned. Still, at least the game allows its initial erroneous assignments to be corrected. I'll get back to it.

Marie’s Room : not a bad little monologue (almost), and rational controls too! Yay!

Far Cry 3 : I finally had the chance to try out Far Cry 3. I really regret doing so.

I first got put off by the idiotic launch program, which required me to enter an Administrator username & password FIVE times before the game would start. Once it got going, the atmosphere was good, the music was effective, the game was responsive, the animations not bad at all, and the gameplay was dreadful.

It is *extremely* disappointing. If I follow the instructions in the initial tutorial, the game restarts. Again and again, it restarts. I really regret buying it … admittedly, a few years ago. Given it’s part of a successful series, I can only presume I’m experiencing some kind of weird problem on my computer.

It’s Not About The End : pfft … so I can stare at a zebra crossing and spin round. The game invites me to move, but the move keys don’t work. I suspect this is a one–man band game and the designer forgot that not everyone plays right–handed. It’s not just Not About The End, it’s not about anything but a beginning that doesn’t work.

Ring of Truth : move keys don’t work in this game either. Not impressed.

Syberia I & II : a clever, nicely put together pair of steampunk point–and–click adventures. The underlying fantasy world is neat, self–consistent, and not overdone: it only hit me what the game designer had done when I came across a penguin colony in the arctic. The imagery is lovely, careful, subtle fantasy. The story’s ok, and doesn’t suffer from any particular problems, although it didn’t fire me up. The puzzles are reasonable and balanced. Apparently, there are more games in the series, with a new one due soon. I suspect I will eventually grab them.

Rainswept : I didn’t even get to the game. The page to correct the key controls doesn’t work, it just sits there showing off its right–handed arrogance. Why is there so much shit about?

Kathy Rain : is a pretty good point and click mystery adventure. The plot holds together, and the game offers enough to have me play until the end. Having said that, apart from one laugh out loud moment, it never really excited me: I kept playing mostly because it wasn’t bad, and there was nothing else going on. The game’s one weakness is its dreadful 1980s graphics, and those graphics are why I wouldn’t recommend buying it.

Yes, I’ve also noticed a lot of game titles include the word Rain.

Timelie : a beautiful start, with original, beautiful and interesting graphics, with controls that were simple which, yay, worked! (See that, Rainswept, etc., some games do have controls that work.) It looked & felt like could have become a relaxing and rather enjoyable puzzle game, complemented by its sad but peaceful piano music.

Then it turned into a robo monster run. What a let down. A great start that jumped into ruin. How did I feel? Well, imagine my team started the cup final by scoring two own goals. I’d walk out, and I did walk out: I aborted the game. I doubt I’ll return to it.

As you’ll note from these comments, there are a great number of games that don’t actually work. By far the commonest issue is broken controls, either they don’t work at all, they can’t be fixed to work properly, or they’re just not rational. The issue is I find out about these problems after I’ve paid for the game, e.g. the publishers have sold me their crap, they’ve got the money. They have no incentive to get things right. In the past, I’ve not asked for my money back, mostly because I usually start to play a game many months after I’ve bought it. I think, from now on, I’m going to go out of my way to test newly bought games and demand immediate repayment if they’re not up to snuff. At the very least, I add a tiny bit of pressure on publishers to discourage them from publishing unfinished, unplayable crap.