Sam Harkin


14 games reviewed
64.6 average score
70 median score
57.1% of games recommended
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8 / 10 - Chivalry 2
Jun 18, 2021

As is the case with many good multiplayer games, the game itself is well made, but mileage may vary with your actual experience playing it. Mechanically, I was impressed with the depth and breadth of everything that you get to play with. Combat itself is incredibly detailed, and the capabilities to have such a compelling game in a crowd of warring factions is impressive. However, the chaos of the battlefield may be a dealbreaker for you; you may find it compelling, or you may find it frustrating. At best I can say it is part of Chivalry 2’s charm, but I’m not able to say that I always appreciated it. Regardless, the specific flavour of madness it provides makes for a fun, violent time, even amongst the varying degrees of chaos.

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7 / 10 - Sunblaze
Jun 9, 2021

Sunblaze earns its place as a brutal but mostly fair challenge. It is exciting and fresh in its gameplay in a lot of ways that people should pay attention to. The difficulty will be satisfying for some but frustrating for others. Whilst a lacking story holds it back, clever design mechanics propel it forward. With all that said, when you’re dying every seven seconds, it’s easy for any shining praise to start to dull.

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May 21, 2021

While the characters and the story might be good enough for a music video, it's not good enough for a video game. It is clear these are music video characters, sometimes in great emotional scenes, but often feeling two dimensional. The gameplay is sometimes nice, but often lacking in a discernable thread of logic, and is undercut when you see how little influence you have on what is clearly a prescribed set of events.

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May 19, 2021

At an absolute bare minimum, Essays on Empathy is a fantastic project. Very few games have really given this level of insight into the world of the developer. Truly, this is one of the most impactful games I have played in years. Some of these titles touch on private pains and give a sense of clarity and non-judgemental exploration. I am honestly so appreciative.

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Apr 24, 2021

As is the case with many annual sequels, MLB The Show 21 is an iteration and improvement over its predecessor. Having said that, if you bought The Show 20, I personally can’t see enough of a change to justify getting 21 in my opinion. There are improvements to the game modes that deserve praise, though I don’t know if it will keep me on the hook for a very long time. Having said that, both titles share some fantastic elements, such as the impressive depth of mechanical customisation, which by itself carries the game into high regard.

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8 / 10 - Sizeable
Mar 20, 2021

Sizeable in the grand scheme of things is a very well-crafted game. There has been a lot of work and effort put in to ensure this small project is packed densely with great ideas. The core mechanic, whilst simple in execution, is used to achieve an impressive array of effects, which make for some entertaining puzzles. The length of the game may disappoint some, but with the game sitting at an equally bite-sized price, I would encourage those interested to absolutely check it out anyway.

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6 / 10 - Olija
Jan 29, 2021

I want to like Olija much more than I do. When the game works it truly works. The gameplay is slick and brutal and fluid. I will never deny the enjoyment that this game provides. The problem is quite simple, which is that there are only so many fresh, exciting encounters the game can give you. They are a finite supply. However, the time wasted through unclear instruction and a lack of accessibility to information is unforgivable. Perhaps other players will find the ambiguity to be less of a problem, but for me it was a real obstacle.

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6 / 10 - Twin Mirror
Dec 9, 2020

Whilst not a true tragedy, Twin Mirror didn’t live up to expectations in my book. The visual and auditory style of DONTNOD is fantastic, and the way it ties into the gameplay is nice. However, it doesn’t stack up to its peers both inside and outside the developer’s library. The magical realism is a bit confusing and lacking in context and the eleventh hour save doesn’t pull it above criticism. A mystery existed but there just wasn’t enough meat on that bone. I can see this game aging well for me, as I remember only the nice parts and filter out the bad stuff. But as it stands, as I write this review, there is just too much of a gap between me and unqualified praise to be able to give it a proper stamp of approval.

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8 / 10 - Disc Room
Oct 23, 2020

Disc Room is a great example of a little indie game doing a damn fine job. From a small idea of bullet hell meets dungeon crawler, the developers have polished the concept up quite nicely. The variety of design ensure that each room feels unique. The innate difficulty of the game provides a satisfying challenge although it can also lead to some frustration. But thankfully the difficulty settings here are highly customisable and allow for great accessibility. Sure there are some confusing rooms, but they’re balanced out by amazing boss fights that left me wanting more. Overall, whilst there are some missteps, it’s definitely one game that’s well worth a try.

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Sep 3, 2020

Let’s not mince words, Street Power Football is just not up to scratch. Sure I love the representation and I love that recognition of actual members of the sport. But that doesn’t really sway me if the game isn’t up to par. Every element of this game has at least one major flaw that makes the game frustrating to wrestle with and takes the fun out of a certain moment. This game has a real arcadey feel to it. It’s cartoonish and colourful. But it’s also arcadey in how cheap and disposable the experience feels.

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