Stuart Thomas


85 games reviewed
77.1 average score
80 median score
57.6% of games recommended
Scores 6.2 higher than average

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
8.5 / 10.0 - The Sinking City
Jul 14, 2019

The Sinking City is deeply evocative in its oppressive dourness, and stays true to the investigative backbone of Cthulhu. We are presented an open world of horror and suspense that HP Lovecraft surely would have enjoyed investigating.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
8 / 10.0 - Tropico 6
Apr 28, 2019

Despite all of this griping, and all of these complaints, Tropico 6 is still sort of fun. Partly it's just watching the numbers going up. When the freighter arrives in port and your first shipment of electronics goes to market, netting you enough money to build a new stadium, it's like a little pat on the head that can be weirdly addictive. There are certainly some bugs that probably shouldn't exist on the fourth (fifth? sixth?) iteration of essentially the same game, but the special sauce that has allowed them to actually get away with making six Tropico games is still there.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Apr 14, 2019

What it comes down to is that Paradox is just amazing at listening to their community and developing their games long after release. Now that ships are done, I expect that the air force will follow not too far behind. Then, who knows? Of course, they could release a DLC of nothing but National Focii for everyone from Bulgaria to Tannu Tuva and many fans would be ecstatic. If more companies were like Paradox, the world would be a better place.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
9 / 10.0 - Dirt Rally 2.0
Mar 9, 2019

I sort of have to criticise, you know? It's the job. Truth is, though, I've really enjoyed every minute I've spent with Dirt Rally 2.0, just as I did with 1.0 before it. The handling is gorgeous, the routes are truly beautiful to look at, and the management is ...manageable. The cars all have tons of individual character, the rallycross feels scrappy and frenetic and everything just comes together wonderfully. Codemasters, eh? They really have the hang of this thing.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Jan 26, 2019

I'm really struggling to find anything good to say about Jagged Alliance: Rage, other than that its name is appropriate. I suppose the stealth mechanic sort of works, although even there occasionally your sneaky work can be ruined by a patrolling soldier somehow glitching and eternally clambering on and off a rock instead of completing his route. Each playable character has a background trait that is supposed to play out as a weakness but that you rarely notice in play. The characters you choose to play seem irritated by one another, and by everything going on around them all the time. I've got to say, I think it's pretty understandable.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Nov 24, 2018

I've been underwhelmed by inXile's previous nod to nostalgia, Wasteland 2, and everyone else in the universe seemed to adore it, so maybe it's me. Your mileage, as always, may vary. But if you're looking for a rock-solid, incredibly challenging nuts-and-bolts RPG with all of the quirky flair of the original trilogy, this isn't quite it.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
6.5 / 10.0 - Call of Cthulhu
Oct 30, 2018

But when all's said and done, there's a clunkiness to the pacing, plot and gameplay that relegates Call of Cthulhu to the second division.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Oct 19, 2018

Pillars of Eternity, for me, is the best D&D series there never was.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
May 26, 2018

Honestly, I feel like maybe we've seen all of the colours of Total War that we're really going to. It's time to switch up the tried-and-true formula for something else. It has been a lot of fun, and in its day Total War really set the bar. But now it's yesterday's news.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
May 20, 2018

I lapped up all the skulking, whispering skullduggery and a few of the plot twists caught me by surprise. I can't wait for more.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
May 20, 2018

I lapped up all the skulking, whispering skullduggery and a few of the plot twists caught me by surprise. I can't wait for more.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
8 / 10.0 - BattleTech
May 6, 2018

When I heard that Paradox and Harebrained were doing Battletech, I expected great things. What I got was... a good thing. Perhaps not actually GREAT in the traditional sense, but fun enough despite its load times and tactical simplicity and clunky graphics and animation. When you punch a mech hard enough that its laser-cannon-equipped arm flies off, or hammer a rain of missiles from the sky into a giant robot and cause its core to explode in a fireball, it's satisfying and lovely. A little more slickness and tactical depth might not have hurt. But overall, I found my time in the cockpit of a giant doom robot to be quite a giggle.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
8 / 10.0 - Far Cry 5
Apr 3, 2018

I know it's redundant for me to say - and I'm directly quoting Jon's Far Cry 4 review here - "That growing Ubisoft problem of over-familiarity rears its ugly head once again". If you've had long enough since FC4 or Primal to hunger for more, or you just really hate religious cults, there are many hours of mindless, gun-nut paradise to enjoy here. But it has to be said that if you've played one, you've kinda played them all.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Mar 25, 2018

To be honest, Waking the Dragon is worth it for the National Focus trees, new general mechanics and decision system alone. If you have the slightest interest in the Chinese theatre during World War 2 and have any intention of playing one of the nations or warlords, you'll be missing out on so much colour and richness by not having this DLC it'd be a real loss. If, like me, you have little to no real knowledge of what the heck was happening over there during the war, Waking the Dragon will school you real quick and in that beautiful, delicious way that only Hearts of Iron IV can.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Mar 3, 2018

There's so much to love in KLD. It's so close to being wonderful.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
7 / 10.0 - Nantucket
Jan 28, 2018

I found Nantucket to be high on style but thin on substance, but its modest price point saves it from my more barbed harpoons. It has some pleasantly nostalgic reminiscences of Sid Meier's Pirates and a management system that borrows some of the more surface-level mechanics of Paradox games - both of which are good things. Plus, it really is the only thing that does exactly what it does. The originality of the concept is worth something even when it's not necessarily backed up with mechanical innovation.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
7 / 10.0 - SpellForce 3
Jan 20, 2018

In the short term, if you're willing to think of the prefab fantasy setting as comfortingly familiar, Spellforce 3 is a pretty fun. The voice acting is terrific, and the plot easy to understand without requiring weeks of learning why THESE giant wolves are different to other games' giant wolves. Whether this familiarity is a brave counterpoint to the endless setting creep of gaming is really a matter of personal taste. And if you're looking for a fantasy RPG/RTS hybrid, this is a promising contender. However, by trying to do two things at once, it fails to be really remarkable at either.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
Nov 18, 2017

This Wolfenstein has been broadly politicized and has been the no-doubt eager focus for political stunts and controversy. Which is odd, really, seeing as how at its heart it's one of the most clear-cut examples of an FPS that we've seen in a while. No tricky resource management stuff, no new sub-systems to learn, just straightforward running and gunning, with a side-order of throat-slashing. And leg-removing. And eyeball-popping. And forehead-hatchet-burying. And exploding with diesel-filled grenades. And evaporating with laser guns. Typical, uncomplicated Wolfenstein stuff!

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
6 / 10.0 - Oriental Empires
Oct 7, 2017

So we come to the fun payload. It's sort of lacking. We've played games like this before, many of them really excellent and with depth and character. Oriental Empires certainly looks nice and has a classical Chinese feel that helps it along its way, but once you're through the surface, it's a lacklustre 4X without a great deal to set it apart from the pack. Much of the time, Oriental Empires feels like playing a game of Total War where you auto-conclude all of the battles, but with a penchant for very slightly unfair and unavoidable disasters.

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Game Debate
Stuart Thomas
5.5 / 10.0 - Absolver
Sep 30, 2017

Squee: I was just waiting for it to be fun. And I'm still waiting.

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