At a glance!

At a glance are short reviews that briefly show and describe my opinion on a game. Besides the obvious notes about Developers, Publishers, Release Date, etc., the main criteria for evaluating a game are:

  • Game: This score represents the techno-artistical aspect of a game. Originality of game design and efficiently implemented ideas, great controls and gameplay innovations are important to get close to the ambitious 10/10 in this field. Depending on the genre,different aspects of a game are evaluated.
  • Time: How much time will be spent with this game? If the main quest takes little time, but the game has a high replay value, the score can still skyrocket. On the other hand, if the main adventure is too long and gets boring enough one doesn’t even care to finish it, expect low scores. Multiple endings or storylines are a plus. Also, if the DLC is meaningful, it adds to the game’s length.
  • F’n’S: F’n’S stands for “Fun and Scenarios”, and the important factors here are: is the game fun? Does the story keep you engaged, if important for the game? Are the virtual environments inventive or stunning? Or is the game just flat, boring and
  • Sound: Everything that gets to our ears: voice acting, sound effects and most importantly the game’s soundtrack. Broken lines and annoying voices drag the score down.
  • Graphics: This score represents the general visual appeal of the game. Not only the graphical polish, but also frame rate issues, bugs, glitches and the general visual style of a game. A good physics engine is definitely a pro. And amazing artistic design is worth gold!
  • Total Score: The total score of the game. It is NOT an average, since each genre is defined by different standards in game play, graphics fidelity and design. Awards are also considered.

And talking about awards, there are a total of 40 “Badges” a game can get. What do these Awards mean? Here is the list!

Sharp Controls: This award means a game has either tight and simple controls, or complex control schemes adequately explained and exceptionally well used. Whatever the player does is reflected on screen and there are hardly ever times where one can shout “It was the game’s fault, I did my input correctly!”
Great New Ideas: For a game to get this award, at least one of its designers must have had a new gameplay idea or an interesting twist on already great game mechanics, and must have been able to implement it nicely. It must not strictly be new in the literal way, but has to give the genre some brilliant new life with previously not-thought-of ideas.
Sucks You In: This award goes to those games that manage to keep you playing even if you know that you should definitely be doing other things. I look in particular at those videogames that you’ve been playing for the last hours, constantly telling yourself “A couple more minutes, then I quit!”, but that won’t let you go from their worlds and/or see you coming back for more whenever you finally manage to break the spell.
Delicious Extras: Sooner or later a game ends. Might have been a great or short ride, but hardly anything lasts forever. Still, gamers want more. This award goes to those games that have some little or big extras to offer when the player thinks that everything is said and done. It’s just great to be able to spent a little more time with our precious favorite jewel!
Just Fun: In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do. Games can be about killing zombies or throwing banana-peels at each other, about saving princesses or destroying the world, the important thing is that (within the game) it is fun! Videogames that get this award are ton loads of fun, whether you are enjoying them alone or with friends!
Charming Cast: This award goes to those games who’s protagonist or group of protagonists manage to make us feel the experiences they are going through. These characters’ joy is our joy, and their pain is our pain. If they are cute, we wanna cuddle with them at night, if they are tough…well, we wanna shake their strong hands!
Great Soundtrack: This award goes to those games (and their composers) that have a soundtrack that just won’t get out of your head (or music device of choice). You keep humming or singing it, and you can’t stop. It doesn’t matter if the music is an original arrangement or if it is licensed, it just gotta sound good…more weeks and weeks to come!
Terrific Voice Acting: Only a distinct few games can shine with this award! Until not too long ago it was a rarity to see a game that had its Voice Acting done right! Slowly it is getting better, but cheesiness is always behind the corner! If a game receives this, they were on the light side of the force! It’s just true that not everyone is able to say one-liners the same way…
Technically Proficient Graphics: This award goes to those games that run on a physical-/graphical-engine that is ahead of its times or really gets the most out of the hardware it is running on. And for this award to be given, frame rate drops are definitely a no-go!
You Got Style!: Graphics don’t necessarily have to be “next-gen” to look beautiful. There are some artistic styles that are so pretty, they look better by far than the latest iteration of the “I got fancy ultra realistic graphics”-game on the market. And the good thing is…these games’ graphic-engines may get old, but not their style! So kudos to their art-designers and this award to those games!
Excellent Multiplayer: It doesn’t matter if we are talking about online or split-screen, turn based or simultaneous, co-operative or competitive multiplayer, games that receive this award have hours and hours of fun in them that just has to be shared with at least one other friend.
Unique: People often say that there’s nothing new nowadays, and that might even be true. Still, games that receive this award manage to feel unique in a way or another, and have a distinct vibe to them that separates them from the crowd of “me-too” games that come out everyday.
Variety: The world is beautiful because of all the variety we have in it! For games it’s no different. Those that manage to do many different things, and many things in a right way, deserve this ambitious award.
Amazing Background and Interesting Story: This award goes to those games that manage to narrate a captivating story or just have a very interesting and articulated world in which they are set. The more we are involved in what happens during our virtual experience, the better everything gets. And there’s nothing better than fully enjoying our latest videogame.
Beautiful Landscapes: Videogames can be the portal to unseen worlds of fantasy and futuristic alternate universes. Some of these have breathtaking landscapes, beautiful vistas or buildings with amazing architecture. To games that leave you wishing you would live in them goes this prestigious award!
Epic Boss Fights: Running toward a guy as big as a mountain and then being able to defeat him by just pressing repeatedly one button isn’t much fun, for sure. As gamers with a brain, there’s the need for epic battles that are tough and require also strategy and a bag of skills! Just like in games that get this award!
Scary!: Not all games are being played just because they are fun. On the contrary, there are whole categories of games that have the sole purpose of scaring the shit out of the player, or letting them feel the true meaning of the word anxiety! Experiences that won’t let you sleep for weeks after you’ve had a good chunk of them get this scary award!
Wow!!: While I was playing a games that got this award I just had to stop and shout “Wow!!” out loud, because a moment in it was just damn awesome! Thinking about it, given the subject, it must have been something far more vulgar than just “Wow!!”.
Great Sequel: In the world of videogames, sequels are often technologically superior than their prequels. But updated graphics or move-sets often just can’t be enough to let them be judged better games. If a game receives this award, it’s sure that it managed to have significant upgrades from the last game in its franchise, and shines for its own merits.
Stellar Use of a License: The world of videogames is the sad place where good movies, great comic-books or amazing novels turn into shabby games, that are bugged or shallow, especially compared to those masterpieces that gave origin to them. This is why every time there’s a game that manages to nail the material for which it got the license, it has to get an award like this one.
Brain Teasing: Puzzles are an important part of every videogame, as gamers like to be challenged with something interesting. Providing problems of logic relevance or of ethic and moral proportions and seeing their outcome makes games worthy experiences. Games that manage to do this in a particularly good way, receive this award.
Better than the Sum of its Parts: Some games don’t really excel in any particular category, and still are way better than the rest of the crowd. They are fun and involving experiences that, as a whole, are just way more fun than each part of the game analysed for and by itself. The “Better than the Sum of its Parts” award symbolizes this.
Gratuitous Fanservice: As gamers are starting to turn into a quite diverse group of people, it is constantly less adequate to display one-sided sexual themes in them. Still, many videogames treat these themes in a light-hearted way, or objectify sex, transmitting wrong values to audiences. If these sort of themes have a meaning for the narrative or within the game’s scope, they’re most welcome, but if they’re just gratuitous, they get this mark, of which they shouldn’t be proud.
Broken Controls: The physical interface between player and virtual world is the most important artefact to model properly in the whole production. If the controls are wonky, too complicated or simply unresponsive, something went wrong in this process. This “award” signals this.
Recycled Ideas: Have you seen this game last year already? Is it a broken copy with bad taste of a classic game? Whatever the case, with games that receive this “award”, you’re sure to encounter a game-concept that has be done time and again in far too many other titles, with no added touch.
Stripped: Have you ever felt like the game was rushed out of development or just left with half of its designed content outside of it? Development times are hell, but nothing should prevent the paying crowd of gamers from tasting a finished product! Games with this “award”, didn’t take this into account, and are stripped of some key features you would have loved to play, but couldn’t. Developers, remember: a delayed unfinished game might eventually turn good; a rushed one will stay bad forever! Unless…the DLC corrects those mistakes… somehow…
Short: Like a ten meters run, like this description; games that receive this “award” are just too short and thus over too soon!
Disappointing: Hype is a bliss and a curse at the same time. Games that can’t manage to keep the high promises they made during development or at their unveiling are awarded with this demerit. Take note: the games doesn’t necessarily need to be bad! It just was promised to be or could have been much better!
Boring: Games with this “award” fail in their primary purpose: to enjoy the player. The reasons could be many: vague story, shallow gameplay, uninteresting characters, the list goes on… It could also be that most of the game is well designed, except one main feature, that then ruins the overall experience. Whatever the case, these games can be a real bore…
Frustrating: Games that receive this “award” managed to evoke something even worse than boredom: frustration! Games should be fun, and some harder objectives are part of this. No risk no fun. If games exaggerate and reiterate on annoying parts, though, there’s just no way it can be forgiven. They get this award. And we got the pain… Damn those Beavers!!
Weak Story: It’s easy to guess that videogames that receive this “award” have a bland, boring, uninspired story, or a narrative that just needs far too much time to become interesting. But please notice: for this award to be given, the story has to be an important element of the game.
Annoying Characters: There are moments in a game when you just think that a character needs to get hit to death. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if in a narrative we’re nearing the end and the bad guy is about to get his retribution. What’s wrong is if it’s not the bad guy we want to see bleeding, but one or more protagonists, that because of stupid choices, annoying voices or plain dumbness don’t deserve the prestigious positions they have inside the game. For games like these, there’s this “award”.
Bad for your Ears: Repetitive melodies, unconvincing sound effects or emotionless voice acting are factors that don’t go by unnoticed: they can ruin an entire gaming experience. This de-merit goes to those games that make you press the “mute” button on your TV-remote and put on something better in your mp3-player.
Piece of Cake: This “award” goes to those games that oversimplified themselves, just to keep things simple. There’s no real challenge, and consequently the whole game is far too easy. Or, as Americans say: “Total cakewalk!”. Because walking with a cake seems to be easy.
Obscure Puzzles: Every gamer likes a good challenge. It’s one of the reasons gaming is so wide spread: we are being confronted with problems that could happen in the real world, and all that without any real risks. But there are some games that present challenges that are obscure. No one could have reasoned the way the puzzle was wanting us to do, and no hint given in the game-world that could have led us to solving that particular mystery. If this happens prominently in a game, it gets this “award”.
Bad Camera: Big issues are on the horizon when our virtual director can’t keep up with the action as the game demands it. There’s nothing wrong about one or two hiccups, but when things get troublesome, and the camera is one of the players main enemies, the game gets this “award”!
Slideshow: Badly optimized graphic-engines often suffer from unexplainable frame rate drops. Some of these can be forgiven, especially if there’s a lot happening on screen and these slowed down moments can be justified. But if the requirements are met or there’s nothing going on when the frame rate drop happens, there’s something wrong with the game. And this de-merit is awarded.
Looooong Loading Times: Loading times always existed and will always exist. The trick is to hide them appropriately. Not always programmers manage to do it, and it’s a pity to have a nicely flowing experience ruined by frequent or particularly long moments of waiting. This “award” goes to those games.
Bugs from Outer Space: Games with this demerit sadly have unwanted inhabitants inside of their artificial worlds; bugs that infiltrate the code and make things work in funny ways, letting things, characters or entire worlds disappear. It’s a shame if a great experience gets ruined by lousy programming…
Bad Ending: There’s nothing worse than finishing a game and not being happy about it. No satisfaction isn’t entirely linked to cliff-hanger endings, as long as they give closure to some degree, but when the final moments of the game are dull or uninspired, there’s nothing that can save the game from getting this grey medal.

And here is a list of all the games that got an “At a glance!” Review:

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