Reviews by Daniel Steven Oles

Total War: ROME II: Emperor Edition Icon
Crashes and Poorly Optimized
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 29th 2016

I'm warning people to regard closely the 'no return' policy on this game.

Despite my Mac meeting minimum requirements the game looks terrible and crashes almost immediately even on lowest settings.

Looks like fun if it would work, but right now I'm poorer and that's about it.

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Napoleon: Total War™ - Gold Edition Icon
Marvelous Streamlined Napolean Sim
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 26th 2016

I'm impressed this works so well on my admittedly pretty simple Mac, but I'm not complaining! The campaign is a little simple but by no means bereft of content and the real meat of the game is the intense and strategic battles. Just firing up a bot battle is exciting and unpredictable in the right ways. Ship combat is some of the best I've ever played allowing you to manuver and change shot types and board vessels. The animation has it's quirks (all Total Wars do) but if you want a fine simulation of controlling a turn of the centry battlefield or want to follow the story of The Little Corporal, this is your game!

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Trulon: The Shadow Engine Icon
Simple and Charming!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 17th 2016

I didn't have any technical issues with this. To me it's like a classic if MUCH stripped-down JRPG and it makes up for somewhat repetative cardbased combat with a lovely art aesthetic, enjoyable characters, and a nice mix of fighting, object hunting, and just wandering around diverse environments. The music has a classic feel and so do many aspects. It's a labor of love on behalf of fans of the genre and a fine discovery, especially as a simpler game to play in windowed mode listening to a podcast or waiting for something work-related to finish rendering.

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The Sims 2 Super Collection Icon
Excellent Life Sim
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 9th 2016

I'm so pleased they made a combo-pack of all the scattered expansion packs!
The Sims 2 is one of the best life sims ever made and with tons of out of the box content this is one of my favorite purchases to date.

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Blackguards 2 Icon
Not Optimized
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 1st 2016

It's an enjoyable strategy game, but good lord it barely functions on my powerful Mac. The story, the characters, the setting is enjoyably dark but it's hard to reccomend in its current state when although the system requirements are met by my rig it still chugs to an unplayable halt.
If it functioned it would be a fun game, but as stands it's just too shaky to reccomend.

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The Darkness II Icon
Not Quite the Original But Still Fun
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 1st 2016

I loved the atmosphere of the original The Darkness and this one largely dispenses with the realism and grit for a cell-shaded almost cartoony look, likewise changing out some of the more brutal combat animations. But it's still an exciting and psychological thrillride with a lot of variety in foes and how to dispense of them. I especially liked that the level structure is very unpredictable. One minute you're battling mobsters in the city, the next you're hobnobbing with your own crime family in a luxury manor. The collectables in this game are great too: each coming with an excellent story read to you by the breathless, panicky narrator. Reccomended for fans of shooters, gothic stories, and gangster lore.

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Omerta: City of Gangsters Gold Edition Icon
Best Kind of Guilty Pleasure
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 30th 2016

Honestly this game has it's issues in places but otherwise the theme, the ecconomic and action gameplay, the amount of content and options makes up for these in spades. I love gangster lore and this is a lot like a street-level version of the excellent Mafia game series mixed with Tropico. Problemwise the major issues stem from a slightly wonky combat interface but with so much to do I don't mind a few strange AI quirks of an iffy camera.
Runs smooth, sounds great and if you're someone like me it's great fun!

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Icon
The Best Star Wars Story Ever Told
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 30th 2016

This is like playing the world's greatest Star Wars graphic novel or film! The level of characterization, the faithfulness to the expanded universe, the humor, the drama, the's all here! I sound like I'm overhyping and there ARE a few issues with lengthy backtracking in places and some annoying minigames (the race track was underwhelming to me), but none of it diminished the entertainment of slicing enemies with a sword or a lightsaber and having your decisons lead to new and varied results with lives literally in the balance.

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Skyborn Icon
Charming Roleplaying Adventure!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 30th 2016

The only reason it isn't rated higher is it's aggressively linear, but the story and characters are enormously entertaining and there's a LOT of plot to work through here as well as new enemies to fight and allies to befriend. Play through it once and you'll get the total experience but that's not bad if the experience is fun and intriguing the first go through. If you like classic RPGs, especially JRPGs and don't mind turn based combat this is a fine addiiton to your library.

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Glowfish Icon
Simple and a Little Wonky
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 30th 2016

It's a very cute and contained game which I can hardly complain about since I got it free but it is pretty much what you see is what you get here. Cute characters, simple gameplay, some variation between levels, an elegant and stylish time killer type game.

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Max Payne 3 Icon
My Opinion but the Worst Max
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 30th 2016

I've played Max Payne since the first game and even played the Gameboy version, and this is still my least favorite of the series. It might be different if I played multiplayer perhaps but to me the combat felt sloppier and more of a frantic series of running from bullets pouring in from all directions as opposed to ballettic dueling like the original games. Also Max is entirely unlikable here, swearing more often, drunk and whiny and surrounded by unpleasant people. Graphics are nice and it might be fun for awhile but I found the new setting kind of boring, the story dull, and the writing grating. Not happy with this Max.

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Tropico 5 – Complete Collection Icon
It's Good to be The Presidente!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Aug 6th 2016

This is as much a grand parody of the world's dictators (hillariously emphasized by the loading screens which include real and unbelievable facts about dictators) but it's also like owning your own private island. You set the crops, build the infrastructure, set the trade routes, determine the fate of every individual citizen (yes, you can execute them!)
The graphics are charming and it's genuinely soothing to watch the paddle boat dock letting loose new citizens or smuggled goods or exporting your hard earned resources for a fat bonus. Combined with a great selection of latintype tunes and the fact that you can pause of fast forward any time you want this is the ultimate casual management game.
The only reason it misses a star is probably my fault: It is HARD. On higher difficulties juggling the responsibilties of satisfying factions, importing goods at a premium and exporting at a profit, rembering to build guard towers to contend with pirate attacks, dealing with the aftermath of a tornado and other can get a bit hectic.
But I still think it's an intelligent and very entertaining journey and by the time you reach the end game and have built a giant laser to cement your super villain status you will have gotten your money's worth in spades.

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Civilization V: The Complete Edition Icon
Almost Too Much Game!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Aug 6th 2016

Without the DLC, Civ 5 is still a highly entertaining and addicting god-game.
WITH the DLC it's absolutely ridiculous. You will have more leaders, more maps, more scenarios, more options than you will know what to do with! Great graphics and strategy mingled with just enough chance to keep things interrting I cannot reccomend this game highly enough to people who enjoy history, management, poltiics, and just watching tiny people enact your will.

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Avadon Icon
Linear but Fully Satisfying Experience
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 9th 2015

This is probably considered 'casual' but I can't help myself but enjoy it. The openness of the world, the vast variety of objects to pick up and people to talk to, the unconventional (although admittedly mostly linear) path with several branches based on meaningful choices: this has all the addictive factors of a triple A RPG but it's much faster paced, never loses its way, and has a fair bit of strategy. A fine story, decent graphics, and a surprising amount of options. I was expecting to pick up a cheap time waster and I'm honestly more hooked on this series than 'bigger' games because of how easy it is to pick up and play.
The problems I have are two fold. This game is aggressively one-track. Playing different characters may change the playstyle but not have much effect on the story which mostly plays out the same. The other issue is YOU CAN NOT SAVE YOUR GAME OR EXIT/SAVE DURING COMBAT. I found that out the hard way. Also the Settings menu option on the first screen doesn't work.
But niggling aside if you like old-school games with a simple interface, an introduction to fantasy/strategy RPGs, or just something to keep you occupied in screened mode this is a fine value for your money! Charming, addictive, and has a lot of heart and imagination.

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Hotline Miami Icon
HARD but fair and brutal fun
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 9th 2015

This game will beat you until frustration will set in on some higher difficuty levels, but there is an undeniable (if disturbing) excitement to be found in slaughtering enemies in the worst way. The 80s theme is almost unique. It reminded me of Grand Theft Auto Vice City with lots of primary colors and a hip edge, the thrumming electronic music being a particular highlight.
Only issues I had is the graphics are a little iffy (enemies and blood fall through walls a lot) and it is unforgiving with how fast you can die. There's also actually very little strategy so much as twitch reflexes employed to win with any kind of score.
But it's a great way to work out some agression or have those moments of 'so hard it's hillarious' gameplay that a lot of mainstream games can't manage.

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The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Icon
Not The Best but Not Terrible
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 9th 2015

I heard scathing reviews of this game, but now that I finally have it I'm not nearly as unhappy as the criticism would have it. I really like the original time period and setting which translates into a compelling approach to aliens from the perspective of the cold-war era American heartland. The controls and interface are a lot like Mass Effect but that's not a slight against the game either as they're smooth and responsive. The aliens have interesting appearences and there's a sense of the real origins of X-Com is a way no other game has managed, not even Enemy Unknown I'd argue.
The lowered score is because of hardware issues. The game is fun but it stutters and crashes despite the MacStore saying that the game is playable on the lowest settings. I don't doubt the Macstore so apparently there's some issues, or at least I had some.

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Torchlight II Icon
A Hack and Slash RPG Dream
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 9th 2015

This game is the whole package of Torchlight's pet system and Diablo style loot with tons of skill trees and enemies types. Nice animation and I love the style. HUGE world. It gets a little repetative at higher levels but the benefit of lots of starting classes and pets and abilities is that as soon as you get overpowered you can just begin over again and have a new adventure. Atmospheric music and sound effects. I liked the original and the sequel is the original improved in every way.

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Mafia II: Director's Cut Icon
One of my favorite games!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 15th 2014

GTA just hasn't the same flavor and character and atmosphere of this game!

Mafia tells a story worthy of film with some of the best voice actors I've ever heard, the shooting and driving mechanics feel tight and each new scenario feels like a brand new set of experiences. The gameplay is tailored to be fun, fluid, and just realstic enough to avoid breaking the flow but also accomidating for potential frustrations (rebounding health, simplified escapes from police, ample ammo…etc) so it seems all over to be a labor of love designed by gamers for gamers to enjoy.

This version also comes with lots and lots of timed missions including another campaign in which you play the friend of the main character before, during, and after the original campaign. Very creative way to add replay value!

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Icon
A Highly Entertaining Hack/Slash
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 15th 2014

I found this game to be just as fun single player as multi-player!
The story is a little flat, but the voice acting is great across the board and someone who loved Lord of the Rings (the books especially) hid a lot of easter eggs in the dialogue.

The action is fast and satisfying. The boss battles are a little disappointing but no push overs and there's a lot to explore and find. Quite a decent RPG-lite title which there is clearly some attention to detail in.

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XCOM Declassified / Darkness II Bundle Icon
Two Spectacular Experiences!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 14th 2014

At an awesome price this is two unique and very interesting games I've been trying to get for some time now but now have the opportunity to play back to back.

The Bureau is a rushed game but I really enjoyed it for what it did well: exciting tactical action in a unique time period.

The Darkness 2 is pure viceral fun, but the game also stands above many disposable shooters by virtue of some unique story twists and a lot of great characters.

If you like action, atmospheric settings, quirky characters and unique mechanics give this a go!

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