Phil Owen


21 games reviewed
72.0 average score
75 median score
42.9% of games recommended

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gameranx
Phil Owen
8.5 / 10.0 - NBA 2K15
Oct 10, 2014

Between MyLeague, MyGM, MyCareer and multiplayer modes like MyPark and the more tradition types — all of which have functioned admirably online, I should note, though MyPark has been less busy than I would prefer, in my experience — NBA 2K15 is as fleshed out as a sports game gets these days.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Oct 7, 2014

That's the irony of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter in a nutshell. When you first start up the game, it declares that it "is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand," but that's true only of its mechanics. Narratively it holds your hand so tightly that once it was over I had to wait a few minutes for feeling to return.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
8.5 / 10.0 - Alien: Isolation
Oct 4, 2014

However, those other elements do keep Alien: Isolation from ascending to heaven to stand at the right hand of God. It is merely the regular type of excellent.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
8 / 10.0 - Wasteland 2
Sep 30, 2014

But when it's working correctly, Wasteland 2 is stellar. The tactical combat is pretty standard, but challenging and only occasionally overwhelming (those are essential moments, to me). Learning to deal with everything that goes wrong as you wander the wastes is a thrill that makes it all the more satisfying when a plan actually does come together. Wasteland 2 is a Real Game, bro.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
7 / 10.0 - Gauntlet
Sep 29, 2014

Gauntlet is good and fun, but I don't think about it much between sessions. And that's about it. I feel like I've said more than is necessary at this point, really. It's competently made and enjoyable and you might forget you have it if you don't play it for a week.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
5 / 10.0 - Destiny
Sep 14, 2014

But, like, it's fun and the view from the social hub is pretty.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
9 / 10.0 - Unrest
Aug 21, 2014

I love it. Unrest is another indie that exposes the lie of AAA that says games need some physical skill element to be worthwhile. It gives us many layers to ponder with its narrative, wrapped in a package that feels culturally relevant even as it's firmly rooted in a past and culture that is not my own. That, my friends, is something worth experiencing.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Aug 12, 2014

Risen 3 is a large role-playing game you can pay money for, and it is functional and will occupy your time.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Jul 30, 2014

Born from a Ludum Dare scenario (an updated version of which has been included in the middle of the game) and spread into a full-length game, Gods Will Be Watching is far and away the most interesting game from 2014 thus far, and it wouldn't really be a stretch to call its design "pioneering." But the true joy, above its other admirable traits, comes from the emotional trauma and frustration it inflicts on the player. Accept no substitutes.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Jul 13, 2014

And so it's a good try, Ubisoft Montpellier, but ultimately in your failure to commit to your high concept, Valiant Hearts is ultimately the same as every other pretty good game: flashes of brilliance countered by nonsense tropes that are inserted just because these are the things you do in video games.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
7.5 / 10.0 - Daylight
Apr 30, 2014

So while I do appreciate Daylight as an effective scare generator, its shelf life feels much shorter than Zombie Studios intended it to be.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
8 / 10.0 - Age of Wonders III
Apr 22, 2014

Age of Wonders III is a game that excels at almost everything it set out to do. It has well executed turn-based strategy, beautiful freedom of choice and some really interesting, but definitely tried and familiar, tactical combat. It's major flaw is the clumsiness in easing you into the experience. The game almost seems set on alienating the player from the start, but if you if you stick with it, you might find a quite rewarding gem beyond.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Apr 11, 2014

Despite all I've said sound pretty down on the game, I do have a strange compulsion to continue rolling with it a while longer because I do enjoy exploring it. My impressions from the first week may not be so hot on it, but I don't hate it. Yet. I'll let you know if that changes.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Mar 27, 2014

The gist of Reaper of Souls is a good experience. It's more of stuff that keeps people coming back, but you'll have to trudge through dungeons for a few hours because there's another threat to all existence Tyrael says needs your attention before you can bathe in the cleansing waters of the main attraction, which is Adventure Mode. You do what you gotta do, I guess.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Mar 14, 2014

With a clean, gorgeous new look, the Final Fantasy X games are good enough to hold up despite a number of surface elements not really aging well.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
Feb 28, 2014

If Lords of Shadow 2 were a film, I'd say it's well constructed in every way aside from editing. Unfortunately, editing is as crucial to a movie being watchable as its visibility. So for this game, it's all well and good that it's pieces are of quality, but they are arranged so carelessly and without regard to flow that struggle is more about staying awake than merely making progress. This subfranchise's muted tone — another non-flaw out of context — doesn't help that cause.

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gameranx
Phil Owen

I hated Lightning Returns, but I also love it. Its greatness nearly ruined by bad packaging.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
6 / 10.0 - World of Warplanes
Jan 8, 2014

[T]he core experience, the flying around and shooting things, feels just about airtight. It's intuitive and uncomplicated, and WoWP accommodates all the input devices, from mouse and keyboard to stick to gamepad, with all appearing to my hands to be equally viable depending on each player's personal proclivities.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
8.8 / 10.0 - Resogun
Nov 25, 2013

It isn't exactly the best thing going on the PS4 thus far (that would be Need for Speed Rivals), but you certainly owe it to yourself to download Resogun and play a round or 12 before bedtime. You'll get lost in it, I promise.

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gameranx
Phil Owen
6 / 10.0 - Knack
Nov 21, 2013

It's just a bit disappointing that the full package comes together in such an unremarkable way. Knack has its own little thing going here, and it's good enough for what it is, but I doubt there's much about it we'll remember in five years.

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