Rob Larkin


85 games reviewed
78.4 average score
80 median score
63.5% of games recommended
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Dec 6, 2022

For the most part, Tactic Ogre: Reborn is a good game. Heck, it's a great game. But my run took me headfirst into what feels like the cheapest and most unfair change of mechanics that I can remember in my entire personal gaming history. The entire playing experience was spoiled as a result. With the review finished, I am now deleting this game from my hard drive and never returning. I feel betrayed by a terrible design choice and look at the dozens of hours to get to this point as a waste of my time.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II brings the core of what makes CoD games great and stays true to Infinity Ward's best efforts in the series. It's big step away in a positive direction from last year's Vanguard disaster. I just wish there was a bit more meat to sink my teeth into. The single player campaign makes no attempt at a commentary but will have you running through a series of competent missions and set pieces. Multiplayer is what you would expect from the series, both with competent gunplay as well as a map playlist that will need to expand over time. The new co-op mode seems a better experience with a friend than queuing with a random from the lobby. All in all there is good game on offer that moves slicker and the shine on your assault rifle looks more gorgeous than the series ever has.

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8 / 10.0 - FIFA 23
Oct 24, 2022

So is it worth it this year? That's a firm "yes". The Hypermotion 2 engine lives up to it's hype and delivers what it probably the best simulation of football I've seen. You have a variety of game modes to find your favorites with some like Volta that deliberately speed up the pace that the engine tends to slow down in Career. You also have the widest variety of stars to choose from featuring men's and women's teams as well as all the licenses and real player likenesses you can hope for. However, Career mode needs some love. And by love I don't mean more meaningless transfer cutscenes. I mean depth beyond just the UK pyramid: add some real lower division teams across leagues and stop neglecting everything outside of Europe.

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Oct 4, 2022

There is a simplicity to the core gameplay of Hardspace: Shipbreaker. Movement and momentum add an element of skill to every action. The difficulty ramps over time but treats you well to ease you into the escalators. Combining the strategy of breaking the ship with the skill of positioning yourself in place to do so, Shipbreaker wraps it up well with a clever main story to maximize - well, reduction of debt. But most of all, it's calming and fun, set in a world that feels similar to the many wonderful other sci-fi stories that have captured us over the years. Hardspace: Shipbreaker nets you a unique opportunity to inhabit a small corner of those worlds a shift at a time, for a job well done. "Live, Laugh, Salvage."

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Sep 28, 2022

Gunslingers & Zombies gameplay and visuals are better than this score would suggest. It's just let down by awkward controls, worse camera angles, and other evidence of a generally uninterested PC port. There's a better game out there on PC that might be more fun than paying more for a Switch version that really didn't care enough to take advantage of anything that makes the Switch good.

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Aug 13, 2022

Despite being physically hampered by the experience of playing the game, I could clearly see what the makers were going for here and I think they largely hit those notes well. I feel like this game has the potential to be a distinctly polarizing experience. Those that really get into it have the option to obsess over perfect, clean runs that lie within reach of those dedicated enough to perfect them; while those that don't are welcome to just put down the controller after a dozen hours of trial and error to completion. Don't give up on the first few failed attempts because the payoff when it all comes together is rewarding regardless of whether it took you ten tries or a hundred, and maybe even more so if the latter.

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May 27, 2022

This War of Mine is a triumph of organic storytelling. It can be frustrating to get started and there is much about the game and how it operates that is not introduced well, but make it past that first hurdle and there is a compelling and emotional investment that pays large dividends. Spend a bit of time reading a play guide or two before you get started, because there are no spoilers to accidentally trip over. The narrative you will eventually craft will be one by your own choices made in the game against the desperate circumstances that force them. If you've never experienced this game there is not a better time than right now.

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May 12, 2022

I really enjoyed Dungeons of Dreadrock, because it's a game that knows exactly the experience it is trying to deliver and does so expertly. There are 100 levels of puzzles, all unique, with mechanics and solutions that ramp as your character progresses deeper and deeper into the mountain, while delivering on a cute storyline with clever 32-bit animation. There is an action element, but that is mostly a timing component to drive the mental aspect of solving the puzzles. It's hard to put down, but each level gives ample opportunity to do just that, so you can binge through as many as you like, then leave it to pick right back up again easily enough. The only drawback is once you're traversed all 100 levels, your time is done - but it was time well spent.

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8.5 / 10.0 - White Shadows
Apr 22, 2022

White Shadows tackles heavy themes with some wonderful storytelling. The gameplay itself is competent, and there is enough variety level to level to make the experience fresh throughout. Through stark visuals and a well placed soundtrack it presents its tale artfully, but unfortunately runs its course in only a few hours. It's hard to squeeze a great deal of game from the experience, but what is there is splendid.

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Mar 22, 2022

Destiny 2 has tried to be many things over its four and a half years, and while it seemed there has always been a step back for every two steps forward the game would make, The Witch Queen is one giant leap ahead. With this expansion, Destiny 2 is quite simply at the best game state it has ever been, and offers so much to do and reason to do it that every player that ever loved this game should give it a shot to rekindle exactly what it was that sparked that passion in the first place.

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Feb 14, 2022

Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the best games of the last console generation. I'm not sure I see any reason why Horizon Forbidden West won't go down as one of the best of this generation.

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Dec 27, 2021

Terminator: Resistance Enhanced is a game that doesn't really understand its source material. The evidence for that can't be made more plain than the way it can't even maintain consistency of vision from one mission to the very next one. The NPC models, audio, bugs and glitches, and repetitive nature of much of the play speaks to an implementation that falls short of any vision, whether the one presented or the one I believe should have been the goal. It does get better with the DLC, and the Infiltrator Mode is an excellent experience in it's own right, although one short lived - clocking in at less than three quarters of an hour with little replayabilty. But factoring in that minor triumph and better subplot of DLC into the mess of the main campaign still falls short of something I can really recommend.

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Terminator: Resistance Enhanced is a game that doesn't really understand its source material. The evidence for that can't be made more plain than the way it can't even maintain consistency of vision from one mission to the very next one. The NPC models, audio, bugs and glitches, and repetitive nature of much of the play speaks to an implementation that falls short of any vision, whether the one presented or the one I believe should have been the goal. It does get better with the DLC, and the Infiltrator Mode is an excellent experience in it's own right, although one short lived - clocking in at less than three quarters of an hour with little replayabilty. But factoring in that minor triumph and better subplot of DLC into the mess of the main campaign still falls short of something I can really recommend.

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8.8 / 10.0 - Loop Hero
Dec 9, 2021

Don't come into Loop Hero with expectations simply because you've never really played anything like this before. Whatever those expectations might be, they're probably wrong. But do come into Loop Hero as it embodies so much of what makes games great: storytelling, engaging interactions with a digital world, the rewards of looting, world building, strategy, but most of all that ceaseless desire to just dip in for one more run.

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Nov 22, 2021

It follows the formula of a Call of Duty game, but delivers each element just a bit worse than it's predecessors. Call of Duty: Vanguard is a game that will surely grow and improve over time, but what we have at launch is something that at least fails to cater to what I was hoping for in any aspect of the game. The single player campaign is ridiculous even if it does deliver some moments of high action; the multiplayer is a mess, at least for someone with my skillset; and zombies is simply unfinished. It'll get better, but what we've got right now just isn't all that good.

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Nov 15, 2021

The Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars is not what I expected and ultimately not what I wanted. I was hoping for a card game but a card game it is not. It's a classic RPG, simply presented solely in the medium of cards. But even taken for what it is, it falls too short of the running time of a good RPG, fails to deliver the challenge or strategy to make itself stand out in that genre, and tarnishes and excellent story with characters that struggle to redeem their faults.

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Oct 20, 2021

Crysis Remastered released last year to mostly disappointing reviews. While the game itself isn't that much better in this trilogy, what does come to life is the evolution of the game space across iterations. What was missing from Crysis Remastered is corrected in the Crysis Remastered Trilogy, and it's not gameplay or glitches, it's context. Context to understand that no matter how you re-texture an outdated game, it might look modern on a screenshot but it will still feel outdated with your hands at the controls. It does, however deserve its place in history, and this is an opportunity to both experience that history, and move beyond into a trilogy that improves with each iteration. The end result is an average overall package by today's standards, but three games plucked from a decade or more ago should be proud to land safely average in the middle of today's pack and standards.

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6.5 / 10.0 - The Long Gate
Sep 17, 2021

The Long Gate took the fun parts of my Computer Science degree and mashed it back in with the tedious stuff. The puzzles are good, the world built around them is fantastic, but the marriage of the two is one destined for divorce. This type of first-person puzzler just doesn't work for me. Keep the First Person to the Shooters, and keep the puzzlers top down. I commend the attempt and vision of the game, but for me it was a combination doomed to fail.

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Aug 30, 2021

I'm not sure what happened with Greak: Memories of Azur. The elements are all there. The ingredients in place to create something wonderful, and it does look stunning. But the execution is a complete let down. The promise fails to bind together because for every clever idea, every good intention, there is some frustration looming alongside. For every good bit there is something bad, and the end result left me feeling like the package was less than the sum of its parts.

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10 / 10.0 - Hades
Aug 18, 2021

Action roguelikes is a genre seeing a bit of a surge of new entires lately, and Hades is as good or better as anything you will find in that field. It offers an overall experience in storytelling and gameplay that is top-notch regardless of genre. It's this incredibly unique type of game and play loop that turns your every failure and death into a reward of unlocking more story, injecting more humor, and inviting you to take a stab at one more run. It's won numerous game of the year awards on PC, and there is no reason for those accolades to stop with the port to consoles. Just don't forget to give Cerebus a pet on your way to the next run.

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