Reviews by .::Nox::.

Magicka 2 Deluxe Edition Icon
Delightful game.
by .::Nox::., USA - Nov 20th 2015

I've never played the first one, so no comparisons with that from me. Apparently there was some grumbling over certain spell combos (water + fire = steam) not working in M2, but that's been fixed, and a new combo for poison was added to boot. The graphics are on the very pretty side of cartoony, and the whole game is clearly tongue-in-cheek. The humor didn't always have me slapping my knees, but it's very charming, from the pervasive nods to pop culture ("A massive cold front is coming," says John Frost) to the option of giving your character a voice set called "Arnold" that sounds a lot like Will Sasso spoofing Schwarzenegger on Mad TV, and, last but certainly not least, the hilarious gibberish spoken by the NPCs. It sounds a lot more spirited than Simlish, and I'm ashamed to admit that I briefly thought it was Swedish.

The main draw here is obviously the clever and addictive experimenting with sheer endless combinations of various elements, which you can then unleash on your enemies (and on yourself, for better or for worse) in a number of different ways: as good old-fashioned rays and sprays, branching charges, weapon enchantments, area blasts, mines, and more. Want a fiery death ray that arcs to several foes at once, like lightning? You got it.

If the game has a drawback, it's that it's pretty damn hard, at least in solo mode. Magicka 2 was intended as a multiplayer experience, of course, and although the single player difficulty has been dialed down a bit in recent patches, later enemies come in such overwhelming numbers, to say nothing of certain bosses, that even the most adroit keyboard wizard will be hard put to survive without some assistance. Fortunately, it's easy to call in other aspiring mages. And even though they can do each other as much harm as the swarming monsters (friendly fire is always on), frustration is kept at bay through the sheer zaniness of the chaotic battles. It's a rather unique game, and comes at a very decent price, too—definitely a winner in my book.

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Sword Coast Legends Digital Deluxe Icon
Very fun, very pretty.
by .::Nox::., USA - Oct 24th 2015

If you're generally a fan of RPGs and find joy both in titles like D3 and 'old-school' fantasy games, if D&D and its rulesets are not a religion to you, if you don't care about being a Dungeon Master or recreating a tabletop experience, and if you don't feel that a piece of software is meant to fill some empty place in your life/soul by being all you want it to be, then my prediction is you'll have fun in SCL and wonder what all the controversy is about. That's a lot of ifs, I know. So here's one more: if any of the above do no apply to you, do some more research before you buy the game. Otherwise, enjoy. It's nice.

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Divinity: Original Sin Icon
Best RPG since Shadows of Amn.
by .::Nox::., USA - Mar 11th 2015

If you've been waiting for a deep discount sale on "Divinity: Original Sin," you may have noticed that it just doesn't seem to be happening—and the game's been out some time by now. Perhaps it's because whoever sets the prices knows that what they have here is worth asking—and paying—a little extra for. They're right. D:OS is not without its flaws (inventory management is dreadful, and even the battles you're meant to fight in the beginning can be damn hard until you get the hang of things), but it's an absolute beauty, lovingly written (nearly free of spelling mistakes, too), and allows such a level of interacting with the game world and everything in it that you could spend hours mucking around just a few buildings experimenting with what can be made by putting what together. It's a fantasy immersion fuss bucket's dream. Single caveat: If having to repair your gear in Diablo III was already a mind-numbing chore for you, Divinity's everything-is-interactive type of approach may strike you as mere tedium. But if you like to play RPG's like it's for real, this is your game.

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King Arthur II Icon
Defeated before ever battling a single demon—by the camera!
by .::Nox::., USA - Feb 16th 2015

There's much about this game that I want to love. It's beautiful. The voice acting is, for the most part, competent. The painted designs that accompany the role-playing segments are lovely. Even the relatively static main map is pretty enough to be stared at for some time.

Then you start your first battle. You might continue to marvel at the arguably splendid visuals for a few minutes, until you realize that to actually SEE the remarkable amount of detail on your troops, you have to nudge the mousewheel with microscopic precision—and even then you're more likely to get a closeup of patch of (admittedly lovingly detailed) grass. From there it takes no small amount of maneuvering to coax the camera back into some angle from which you can actually see what's happening on the battle field. Tinkering with the options—to, say, slow down camera movement—does not remedy this at all.

I go to this point twice, and twice I abandoned the game with a sigh and a groan. I might give it another go, too. But unless third time really IS a charm, I'm leaving Brittania to the demonic invaders. Maybe they have a better grasp on how to work the camera. In fact, they probably designed it.

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Mount & Blade: Warband Icon
Dated visuals, leagues-deep gameplay.
by .::Nox::., USA - Nov 23rd 2014

It's a bit tough at first to get past the rather dated look of the game (although it's nice enough to convey atmosphere and immersion), but the complexity and depth it offers soon make you forget that. In many ways, "Mount and Blade: Warband" offers more freedom of action that many MMOs promise these days: you can be a wandering adventurer taking on quests here and there, a mercenary in some king or queen's war to regain a throne, or you can focus on trading goods. Whatever you do, the world in which you travel is filled with roving warbands, bandits, plunderers and deserters, many of whom are itching to kill and/or rob you, so you'll never be able to avoid fighting for long, and that's what this game is all about, of course. Combat is no easy affair. You need to actually pay attention to your opponents moves, and block accordingly—fighting in M&B is no simple matter of hitting tab and bludgeoning merrily away. The same goes for ranged combat. Expect a lot of humiliation as you learn your way around the game. The rewards are a more realistic medieval combat experience than most other titles offer these days.

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Icon
Hack and slash like Aragorn...
by .::Nox::., USA - Sep 23rd 2013

Beautiful game. The environments are lovely, both to look at and listen to. You will see much of the world only from a distance, as this is not a game where you roam freely. That's okay, because the aim here is not to provide a deep role-playing and exploration experience, but to lead you through picturesque vistas from one battle to the next, and the slaughter itself looks satisfyingly as it did in the movies. Mind that the game is unforgiving—battles are as much about avoiding damage as they are about inflicting it, and it doesn't take too many hits with an orc blade to bring you down, so you'll have to learn early on to weave and dodge like Legolas (three talent trees per character help you fine-tune your style). The story is a bit linear, but still nicely imagined, and after all The War in the North is really all about the combat—which makes it especially disappointing that the only way of fighting alongside other players is via LAN. A shame, as coop play would be a blast in this game. For that, one star less.

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The Bard's Tale Icon
Charming, funny, and not half bad to look at.
by .::Nox::., USA - Aug 12th 2013

Lovely game. There's lots of hacking, slashing, and barrel smashing, to be sure, but it's got depth, too, and loads of good ol' "they-don't-make'em-like-that-anymore" RPG charm. The voice acting alone is nearly worth the price of admission. The graphics are actually very nice, even at full resolution. Just be aware that while you can swivel the camera and zoom in and out a wee bit, you're locked into a top-down camera view (which is odd as the game is fully 3-D), so if being able to position your POV freely means a lot to you, that might bug you a little. Aside from that, there's nothing to complain about here—certainly not at this price.

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Star Wars: Empire at War Icon
Nice game, if you can play it.
by .::Nox::., USA - May 9th 2012

I'm sure this is tons of fun, judging by the tutorials. Sadly, a bug currently causes certain versions of EaW to crash upon loading saved games, rendering the game essentially unplayable, and I am experiencing that very problem. I contacted Aspyr's customer service department to inquire about a possible ETA for a patch to fix the problem on affected releases of this title, and unfortunately the response was: a long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away... maybe.

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Two Worlds II Icon
Beautiful, but almost a little too free-style.
by .::Nox::., USA - May 9th 2012

Visually, the game's a stunner, although the scenery comes out ahead of the people inhabiting it, who can look a little... shall we say, corpse-like? You move freely around the enormously sized maps and do what you want, pretty much when you want it. Isn't that what many of us dream of when we imagine the ideal fantasy RPG? No rails, no linear story, no "must do this to do that" (aside from completing a chapter to move to a new zone). However, TW2 takes this "freedom of choice" a bit too far, and at times you end up feeling rather lost, if not to say insignificant, going about your quests and adventures here and there in a massive world that seems to care little about what you do or what happens to you. The storyline ("nothing important 'cept something about a dark lord and the end of the world") is easy to ignore, and it almost appears that you can ride off into the sunset and forget about it all instead of risking your life, or your sister's life, or whatever it was, and leave the whole thing to someone else. Sounds a bit like the real world? Well, there you go: verisimilitude in spades! But sometimes, in a game, a bit of linearity or urgency is needed to keep you interested. As a sandbox, this game works well, and you may enjoy wandering, riding, and sailing around Antaloorbut as an adventure tale, TW2 doesn't bring on quite enough steam.

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