Reviews by Elias Chapelle

Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series Icon
Another Great Graphic Story From Telltale
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Feb 23rd 2015

Telltale tackles the massive Game of Thrones universe with a worthy attempt at a concurrent story of a new noble family, House Forester. This is not an easy task. The complexity of GOT's Westeros was difficult for the HBO writers. Telltales attempt is even more complex. The first 2 episodes are well worth the time if you like the storytelling mode of Telltale games. The entire 6 episode series looks promising but I am not expecting as satisfying an experience as with Telltale's other graphic novel orienated games.

Telltale has experienced problems with the Mac version of GOT which seems not to have been resolved. I believe that the reason was the result of growing pains as Telltale has expanded its businss faster than it could handle. My copy of GOT does not update, does not install, and does not download and I am tired of dealing with this game's faults.
Visit the Telltale community forums for instructions if you have update problems and are looking for a fix. Mine have become too frustrating to continue with Telltale Games. I have not experienced these problems with any other Telltale game on Mac or IOS platforms.

An Update: The fix didn't quite fix the problems for me. After continuous frustrations and getting through chapter two and seeing it totally wiped out, I stepped back and eliminated the ENTIRE game, including everyting in the hidden Library/Application support/Telltale games/Game of Thrones folder. I then reinstalled the game from Telltales' website, not from the MGS, and went through the laborious process of downloading the first 3 chapters. So far I have replayed chapters 1 & 2 without a glitch - no lost chapters or missing save files. I won't be holding my breath though and still recommend waiting to buy until after the entire game is avaiable.

The Last Update ( I hope!): Telltale seems to have fixed the glitches in the update procedures for the Mac version of GOT. No problems so far thru Episode 4 tho the download still quits a bit too often. The story subset of this GOTs is very good however and highly recommended.

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This War of Mine Icon
Victims of War
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Jan 2nd 2015

'This War of Mine' is not really a game but a simulation of survival - what it is like to be the victim of warfare. Loosely based on the war in Bosnia you play 3 male characters struggling to survive in a war-torn urban landscape. You must contend with hunger, injury, sleep deprivation and death I don't know if a character ever wins because the odds of your survival are definitely slim and I've never reached a satisfactory conclusion. The game is drawn in bleak atmospheric black, grey, and white shadows and the destroyed city landscape is bleak. The characters are silhouettes that are often in shadow and dimly lit. 'This War of Mind' is an eye-opening experience for those used to games such as 'Call of Duty' and other shooters like it. Here you play the victim caught between deadly forces. Your character must daily choose between difficult moral choices in order to survive. The player must often make choices of life and death, your life and well as others. There are no correct decisions and every decision has a consequence. You eventually end up realizing that you never had real good choices in the first place.

As grim as real war, this simulation will be an eye-opener for those who have never experienced it. The developers wisely limited the reality of warfare in order to make the game playable without turning users away. It is clear that the underlining message is that warfare has many many victims but some victims are missing from gameplay. Other real victims of war such as women and children are not in the game. Adding this reality or war victimhood would probably have been too much for players to take.

The game has 2 major problems which, when fixed, will make this a 5 star game. The first problem is that the darkness of the screen and size of the text makes the game difficult to play on a small screen. My 13" MacBook screen was almost too small to play it on. My much larger iMac would have been ideal but I could not play it on my older iMac because there was not enough graphic RAM. This problem was not disclosed on all potential purchase sites. There is supposed to be a fix for this problem with the release of version 1.2 but that version is not available via the Mac App Store (version 1.02), version numbers are not given on the Mac Game Store, and the Mac Steam version is 1.22.

'This War of Mine' is highly recommended. But be careful of graphic requirements. My original purchase of this game was from the Mac App Store.

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Civil War: 1863 Icon
Very Good and Simple
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Sep 9th 2014

I own this entire series from Hunted Cow for the iPad and find myself going back to it whenever I want a simple short game to spend some time with that requires very little brain power. The missions are fun and easy to learn. Each scenario is graded for 3 levels of difficulty: casual, normal, and hard, and you receive points based on how well you do for each level of difficulty. The series will remind you of the original board based war-games of the Avalon Hill days (if you are old enough to remember them) and are just as much fun. Highly recommended.

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Battle Fleet Icon
Not a Game of Tactics
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Sep 4th 2014

I am sure that there is an audience for this type of game but I am not one of them. The best naval warfare games of the past are games of tactics and strategy. 'Battle Fleet' is more of an arcade or console game that relies on correctly inputting numbers for range, speed, and distance from your ships to the enemy ships. Sorry game developers but even in the days of naval warfare of 70 years ago, ships used bombardment calculators to aim and fire naval artillery. There is no need for this number guessing game. Gunnery calculators were even used in the mid-18th century. Today's navies use sophisticated computers to calculate gunnery firing data automatically. 'Battle Fleet ' is just an updated version of the old computer game 'Artillery'.

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Civilization V: The Complete Edition Icon
Simply the Best Civilization Game
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Jul 11th 2014

Civilization has always been my favorite game and I have purchased every version. I was leary however about Civ V because 1) I read many negative comments, 2) I did not like Civ IV, and 3) I have had a lot of bad experiences with Steam as a gaming service. But I decided to bite the bullet once again and purchased Civ V Complete via my Steam account. I was not prepared to be totally blown away by how good this game is. This is the best version of Civilization so far (if you have the computer to run it). I use it on my 13" MacBook Pro with no problems. It runs hot but never crashes and although there is a slow down at the end of the game, it has been a minor slow down. Best of all the game improvements in Cv V make Civ V the first version that deserved to be called 'Civilization'. Older versions relied too much on older wargame strategy and tactics that involved endless battles and movement and lost the meaning of what it meant to be a 'civilization'. Civ V includes realistic and thoughtful game play that involves trade, diplomacy, religion, culture, and so on and minimizes war play. The Complete Edition is the one you should buy. It contains the expansions that make it a great game from the beginning to the very end. Thanks Aspyr! This one is a winner.

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Sid Meier's Pirates! Icon
Pirates! Returns
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Jul 8th 2014

Sid Meier's Pirates is an excellent rewrite of this classic game which contain all the variations of the old classic using surperior graphics and play. The heart of the game, sailing and firing on other ships is still here as are the quests you need to complete to raise your final score. The game sorely needs a better key mapping explaination (it is possible though it is not explained in the documentation) because the best keyboard controls rely on having a keypad on your keyboard. Most laptops and most desktops do not have keypads and the most effective controls rely on using a mouse AND a keypad. Worse yet are two additions to the game that are both useless and difficult to use; sneaking through a town and dancing with the woman to gain rewards. I have yet to understand why the town sneak was even added. It has no game function what so ever. The dance sequences at least offer a chance of rewards but the difficulty of movement (you need to use the keypad to be most effective) gets harder as you progress in rank. Very odd. My experience with real dancing is that you improve with practice. These 2 unneccesary additions make me rate what would have been a 5 star star game as only a 3 star game.

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Spec Ops: The Line Icon
Beware of System Requirements
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Apr 1st 2014

Spec Ops is an interesting shooter with extraordinary graphics and an atypical storyline. Unfortunately, the game has some system requirements that were not listed when it was originally released, a problem I have seen elsewhere. Whether this is a sign of developers and sellers not talking to each other or the inability to keep up with hardware upgrades, I can not tell, but be aware that if you run this game on an Intel 4000 graphics chip, it will not run properly. This has been a very consistent problem with anything running and sold through Steam

UPDATE: When I first purchased this game there was no indiction that it would not run on the Intel 4000 video chip on my MacBook Pro. I reloaded it on my iMac via Steam, which did meet the requirements, but discovered it was prone to constant crashes and computer freezes. Not recommended.

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Max Payne 3 Icon
Max is a Pain
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Feb 6th 2014

A fan of the original Max Payne, I purchased this game via Steam. That purchasing decision was itself a mistake because I am not a fan of the Steam system findng it crash-prone and difficult to manage. But how bad could it be, ehh? Bad enough it seems. Not even the use of Bullet Time can make this game very playable.
Although the storyline is compelling and the graphics are extradinarily excellent, the mechanics of gameplay are difficult to manage. It's video console origins are all to obvious. The aiming point of your weapons is this little red dot that is often impossible to locate on the screen and the use of 2 mouse buttons to shoot is frustratingly hard even with bullet time. And to add further distaste, you are required to register on Rockstar's version of a social media site and reveal personal information. Max Payne 3 is just another example of the sad decline of computer gaming.
UPDATE: After struggling with this game I finally figured out that it has another major fault which is now listed on the game description (It was not when I orginally purchased the game). Max Payne 3 is not compatible with an Intel 4000 graphic chip under Mountian Lion or Mavericks. The graphic incompatibility results in large black blotches that appear on your screen.

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The Wolf Among Us Icon
TellTale Does it Again
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Jan 31st 2014

Another winner form Telltale Games; the company that knows that there are game players out there that do not want difficult thumb twitchers but want compelling storylines. The first episode of 'The Wolf Among Us' promises to be as good or perhaps better than 'The Walking Dead'. Although there is a timer that pressures you to make game decisions that effect the progress of the story, they are not frustrating game stopping events that all too common in other games and have you looking desperately for a cheat. If you love good storytelling in a computer game, you cannot go wrong here. The only negative comment I have is the long wait between episodes. I wish that the writers were faster in releasing the complete game. I certainly don't want to wait a year to finish the game.

UPDATE: The 'long wait' was shortened considerably and I finished the game. This game has made me a committed fan of Telltale Games. They have produced a terrific story that is actually an animated graphic novel rather than a standard game. A rather outstanding graphic novel, in fact, told with some player input throughout the episodes. This game is well worth your time if you are a reader of books or graphic novels and a fan of other games that reply on storytelling such as 'The Wolf Amoung Us' or 'The Last Express'.

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DOOM 3 Icon
Another Doomed game
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 3rd 2013

A scary quake-like shooter with some very difficult sections that requires a lot of patience or cheating. Still well worth the prcice and time spent to play.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Icon
Not your Father's COD
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 3rd 2013

The COD series has come a long way from its origins as a tactical shooter. The first, COD 2, and COD 4 were all exceptional games based on real life if fantasized quite a bit for the world of fake combat where being shot just decreases your health stats (if only real combat were that easy), but now we have Black Ops which is a game on steroids - and I don't mean that in a good way. Sure there are amazinginly good sequences that will test the limits of your machine and endurance to respond to the action but too much of the game is like running a DVD at 4X speed. You will continuousy wonder what you just saw on the screen, what the targets are, and how the heck you even got past the action you just saw on your computer screen. And to emphasize the unreality of what at first appears to be an interesting story line, the additional scenarios of the game is a never ending zombie hunt that will have older gamers remembering the PacMan days of play that progressed without end until you finally either died or developed carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Torchlight Icon
Carry the Torch
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 3rd 2013

If you own Fate, you will recognize Torchlight as an updated version. Fun though repetitive play will keep your attention for short play periods.

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Airport Mania 2 Icon
Cute and childlike aircraft
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 3rd 2013

Another in the series of moving cute little aircraft around the airfield that relies on you ability to click quickly and anticipate required action in order to progress to the next level. A gret little time waster that has an actual end of game.

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Jade Empire: Special Edition Icon
Worth Your Time
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 2nd 2013

The best RPG offer a combination of action and story and Jade Enpire fills the bill nicely. There is one unfortunate glitch that does not seem ever to have been fixed but it luckily does not ruin the game but was not fixed with an upgrade.The game is only workable on older Macs.

Unfortunately, the game does not work on any Mac OS greater than Snow Leopard. If you use OS 10.7 or above you are out of luck and there is absolutely NO SUPPORT so do not waste your money.

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Tradewinds Legends Icon
An Easy Little Time Waster
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 2nd 2013

A funny uncomplex game that is a good addition to the series. Unfortunately, the game will only run on a PowerPC and has not been upgraded. Too bad. I would like to be able to waste a little more time on the Silk Road on my newer Intel based Macs.

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The Few Icon
Not worth the time
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Sep 16th 2013

I wish I could figure out how to even get this app to work. There is no documentation, the flight tutorial does not work, and I cannot get past the requirement to build 4 aircraft at the factory. In addition, several spelling and gramatical errors illustrate the authors lack of familiarity with english (although I cannot understand how you can misspell the word 'and'). And last of all, 'The Few' seems to require Abode Air, an app not known for its trustworthiness, and always prompts for a nonexistent update. This game goes in the trash. I would reconsider it if someone would let me know how to get it to work.

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction Deluxe Edition Icon
Fooled Again
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Nov 4th 2011

Fooled again by Ubisoft. This is the last time. Terrible frame rate and total lack of mouse control.

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Medieval Battlefields Icon
Not Ready For Retail
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Aug 12th 2011

A great concept is improperly written. Even the latest version (1.5.2) is buggy, slow, and frequently freezes and crashes. This may be because the game is Java based.

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Brothers in Arms: Double Time Icon
Immersive and Accurate Simulation
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Jul 6th 2011

'Brothers-in-Arms' is an excellent simulation of WWII squad level combat. It is not really a shooter though it is listed as such here. It is really a simulation that attempts to duplicate the difficulty of actual WWII combat. Shooting is difficult. You must carefully aim and plan your offensive moves to ensure success. Unlike shooters like 'Call of Duty', this is no gore fest of constantly mowing down the Nazis. One needs to make good use of your fire teams and reconnaissance to beat almost every scenario. BIA is closest to the game 'Close Combat: First to Fight' than other generic shooters and it may be frustrating for some players who are used to video console like shooters. But if you give it a chance, you reward will be to discover what may be the most accurate WWII single player combat simulator out there. Anyone who has actually experienced real combat will recognize the reality of accurately portrayed combat here.
The scenarios are based on real events and places and the developers have kindly included a large amount of background material and photos to support the action. Be sure to look up the unlock codes on the web to see them all.
'Earned in Blood' the second included game, has better user controls than the original game 'Road to Hill 30'. Too bad that Feral didn't do a rewrite for consistency.

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Commander: Napoleon at War Icon
Good Play if Not Realistic
by Elias Chapelle, USA - Apr 9th 2011

A companion game to Commander: Europe at War, C:NAW attempts to recreate the Napoleonic wars using a similar map as used in C:EAW. Game play is altered to reflect the early 19th century in that the player uses ships of sail, horses and artillery instead of mechanized units, and warships of the 20th century. Instead of production points, C:NAW ships deliver horses. Instead of submarines, C:NAW provides Privateers. C:NAW has the same ease of play, fun factor, and scripting restrictions as C:EAW does. If you can get beyond the restrictions and one glaringly obvious fault in the game, you will probably enjoy it, even though I think the game is overpriced. What is the glaring fault? The Napoleonic Wars demands a tactical based map and game play. All Napoleonic battle sims have required this. Unfortunately C:NAW uses the same strategic map and unit design as C:EAW. You might have a difficult time, as I did, getting beyond the fact that 19th century artillery can fire over 100 miles on this game's map which is designed for strategic play, not tactical play. Overall, C:NAW is a great idea improperly implemented.

UPDATE: C:NAW is no longer supported. Be aware that if you purchase this game you will not be able to play it because it requires registration to a now nonexistent registration server to activate the game.

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