Ian Soltes


72 games reviewed
63.3 average score
70 median score
23.6% of games recommended
Scores 6.0 higher than average

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

With the build-up of two prior games to firmly provide a foundation, some truly dark and disturbing moments, emotional highs, strong character connections, and overall glimmer of hope, there is no doubt as to what the final score could be for Muv-Luv Alternative. To consider it anything less than wonderful is to short-sell it due to its powerful moments and well-written plot.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

Honestly, were it not for some really glaring problems, such as the AI's problems with ledges and the poor gear balancing, the game itself would be pretty fun.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Feb 10, 2018

This is what an expansion for this series should look like - something that doesn't feel minor and can impact choices in many areas of the actual main game itself; even ones not directly related to it. While Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon is certainly not quite as epic as other expansions in the series, there is no denying the positives it brings, either, making it well worth the investment for those that have been enjoying the Crusader Kings II experience so far.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Dec 31, 2017

Stormblood is simply amazing. Not much more can be said about it. With a very well-crafted story, some tense and epic battles, two new classes, and wonderful zones, saying anything else would ruin so much of the expansion and what makes it great.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Dec 31, 2017

What more can really be said? Everyone was expecting a nice and self-contained story at best, a bit of a romp, and nothing exceptional. Getting a well-crafted story, developers learning how to up their game to create intense battles from their prior experiences, and so many other improvements, was simply not expected. There is a distinct rift in quality between the base game and this expansion, and considering A Realm Reborn was already very good, this new rift showcases just how great Heavensward is.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

The reasoning for such high praise of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn should be obvious. At the end of the day, the simple fact is that Square Enix actually put in effort and care and managed to craft something that truly is Final Fantasy through and through. It would have been so easy to declare this game a lost cause or just do the minimal amount of work to make it viable, but, instead, the developers dedicated themselves to turning this MMO on its head - and they succeeded.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Dec 24, 2017

Honestly, this review could go on a lot more, but so much of it is attention to details and improvements on the prior title that it would miss the point. That point being that Total War: Warhammer II is a game where you can have a T-Rex throw down with a Wizard. There are great strategy elements, the new vortex victory is a great refresher from normal conquest types, and the new races are all great; but reading this review means missing out on the dino action. Still reading?

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Dec 24, 2017

Quite frankly, this practice is unacceptable. This particular expansion shouldn't be punished since the problem is broader and more wide-spread. How making an admittedly large patch then charging full price for it is a bad Paradox! Bad boy! There are people out there making workshop content and mods for free that affect far more and aren't some minor fringe either. Meanwhile, with a full team, Paradox manages to change one, admittedly large, nation? Why not sit down with all the other religions and give them their own little iconographies? Or work in something else? Anything else! This is a mini-expansion and the result of a sad, yet likely unstoppable, practice.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Aug 29, 2017

To say that personal frustration isn't involved would be a lie. To say that said personal frustration seems to come around because a game wasn't properly balanced between the multiplayer and single-player aspects, with it being tilted a bit too heavily towards the top dogs, would be true. As a single-player title, ARK: Survival Evolved can get quite tedious and annoying having to handle tasks meant for multiple people solo. As a multiplayer game, having to submit to survive and not have everything ruined is annoying, as well. Hopefully, a better balance can be found, but, for now, the game just feels wrong for what it's supposed to be.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Aug 11, 2017

The Norsca expansion is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The beast hunts are a nice and interesting way to deviate from the traditional building and recruitment structures, while the mechanics of the four gods is very distinct and allow for some potentially interesting choices and decisions to be made. However, it likely won't persuade anyone outside of the franchise to join in, and is pretty obvious in both what it provides and what said provision will do.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
6 / 10 - Narborion Saga
Jun 12, 2017

With some rebalances, polish, and work, the shortcomings of this game can easily be fixed. For those looking for enjoyment in this growing genre, Narborion Saga is easily among one of the better options and still quite fun despite its shortcomings. It's just that said shortcomings also can't be overlooked when trying to be transparent and give a good and sincere opinion, either.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
2 / 10 - Yasai Ninja
Jun 9, 2017

Too bad this game was released in 2015. As-is it's just a stiff, broken, game with absolutely no reason to play it and many reasons to simply not play it. Its place is not in a game library but, rather, sautéed and served with spices as a side-dish.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

Honestly, it's really not bad. While the attempt at a greater story is nice and the new maps are welcome, it's just that it's not really worth talking about unless someone is already invested in the base game. The story is thin, there aren't really all that many new mechanics (two new weapon types is about it), and the rat killing is just as fun as ever. Think of it like seconds at a meal. Nice if the meal was enjoyable, but someone isn't going to suddenly change their mind on the quality if they weren't interested before.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

For those looking to enhance their EUIV experience to the max, Mandate of Heaven is certainly one of the more 'core' expansions. With some nice and unique changes for the Far East, it will be very promising for those seeking to play as one of those nations. However, people focused on the more Western nations won't get too much out of this beyond a few baseline modifications that really aren't worth the price of the expansion in and of themselves.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Mar 29, 2017

At the heart, the best thing about a co-op experience is just being able to sit down with a bunch of people and have fun fighting off a massive horde of monsters, and Warhammer: The End Times -Vermintide scratches that itch beautifully. It's just that going beyond that is a pain. Other than recombining and upgrading gear, here's little reason to play solo, between a relatively unimportant story and the random gear drops. Vermintide shines with friends; it's a bit too dangerous to go alone, so take three!

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes

Honestly, the biggest draw for people in Crusader Kings II: Monks & Mystics will be the addition of secret societies and cults. They're a great addition and can certainly be worth it, but the feature can certainly not be worth it to someone uninterested with the features it brings. It will make every-day life more enjoyable and interesting, but it won't be some massive shake-up for those who aren't interested in what the cults and societies have to offer.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
8 / 10 - Attack on Titan
Feb 24, 2017

Attack on Titan has, arguably, the best possible flaw: a desire for more of it! With some fast-paced and outright enjoyable fighting, the game is an outright joy. The story won't hold much surprise for fans, but, at the same time, it's still a good one. The question really isn't so much 'Is it enjoyable?' but 'Is it long enough to justify a purchase?' Sadly, the answer isn't clear enough of a yes, but almost everything else is very solid and well-made.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
7 / 10 - Koihime Enbu
Feb 6, 2017

Ultimately, Koihime Enbu is meant for a specific audience; fans of Koihime Musou who desired a fighting game. Genre fans may enjoy the title, too, as it does boast a solid combat system and some good distinction to set itself apart from "Generic Fist Punching Guy Fighter #82" due to using weapons, special moves, and the tactics bar - but it's not going to suddenly be drawing in crowds en masse.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
Feb 1, 2017

Ultimately, Dragon Age: Inquisition suffers from a very simple problem. It has enough things like graphical prowess and decent combat and the like to be passable. If the Dragon Age name hadn't been attached to this project it seems doubtful it would have been green-lit. Those looking for a better resolution to the story won't find it in here, and, ultimately, it feels like little more than a polished cash-in than an attempt to build or expand.

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Cubed3
Ian Soltes
7 / 10 - Muv-Luv
Dec 29, 2016

Honestly, as a book, Muv-Luv is fairly solid with a decent idea and capable writers backing it up. It doesn't reach its full conclusion but that's because there is a third game waiting in the wings, and the provided endings are just fine. About the only 'real' complaint that can be had is that its duel-story style can end up feeling needlessly taxing at times, resulting in irritation instead of enjoyment.

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