Jaina Hill


33 games reviewed
80.5 average score
82 median score
78.8% of games recommended
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80 / 100 - Unheard
May 12, 2023

There are elements of Unheard that still befuddle me. Why did there have to be a framing narrative around testing a sci-fi sound machine? Why couldn’t this just be a series of devious chapters, full of double identities and swapped masterpieces? Ultimately, I don’t think some of the eccentric flourishes hurt the game. Unheard – Voices of Crime focuses on doing a few things well. The game rises to that very specific set of standards.

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Jun 5, 2023

Of all the possible stories to tell in the wide universe of Star Trek, Resurgence picks a good one. It takes place in the “present” of the story, and while it has some fun with cameos, it doesn’t overdo them. It presents a galaxy in a time of uneasy peace, and a diverse Federation crew. I would certainly recommend Resurgence to anyone who loves Star Trek. If you’re a curious non-Trekkie well, how much can you tolerate quick time events? Because by the ancients there are a lot of them. But this reviewer didn’t mind one bit.

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80 / 100 - Xenonauts 2
Jul 11, 2023

Even coming short of perfection, you nerds are going to love Xenonauts 2. It lacks the bombast and superpowers of reboot-era XCOM, but it more than compensates with logistical complexity. It may not be sexy, but Xenonauts 2 is a well-designed strategy game, thoughtfully made by a team who knows the genre. And if you are a youngster who missed the 90s? Here’s an approachable piece of video game history given form. Figuring out how to run an old DOS game is a headache. Xenonauts 2 in out and ready for your orders commander.

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Jul 25, 2023

After beating the story in Jagged Alliance 3, I still really wanted to play more. I want to try out every merc on the roster, and learn how to use each of their unique abilities. There are fights that I want to play again, this time with a new approach. Fans of turned based action will find Jagged Alliance 3 to be a genre-best game. But I’m probably going to play those gunfights with the volume turned way down. After all, I’m not in Grand Chien for the atmosphere and the company. I just want to find new ways to blow stuff up.

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86 / 100 - Viewfinder
Jul 27, 2023

I did however have the best time solving its puzzles, which I’d hate to spoil here. But man, when you turn a photo upside-down and then stuff falls out of it? That moment got me to gasp. And the gravity physics were fun enough to have me playing with them until I made myself a little seasick. Viewfinder doesn’t have the tonal mastery of an exploration game like Myst, but it’s puzzles are second to none in the genre. You should definitely challenge yourself with Viewfinder, the most beguiling puzzle game of the year.

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Aug 14, 2023

I am reminded of Sid Meier’s often repeated quote: “games are a series of interesting decisions.” I never really felt that my decisions were all that interesting in Astronaut: The Best. Either the course of action is fairly obvious, or it’s totally opaque. Click a button, find out what happens next. But then I keep looking at images from the game, which reminds me how consistent the whole experience is. I appreciate the wild swing, but ultimately, I don’t think Astronaut: The Best, is (the best.)

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78 / 100 - Dune: Spice Wars
Sep 28, 2023

I cannot lie, the world of Dune is one of my favorites, and any chance to visit Arrakis is a welcome one. Despite a its significance to gaming as a whole, there aren’t a lot of Dune games out there. Spice Wars is the kind of power struggle fantasy game that we’ve been seeing for decades, but its a winning formula. Sure Spice Wars might mostly be porting over a lot of the mechanics from Northgard and dressing them up with a new coat of paint, but it’s an incredible court of paint. If you were distraught to learn that the second Dune movie will be pushed back into next year, Spice Wars will probably hold you over until the big day for the big worms.

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Oct 10, 2023

Total War games spent so much time trying to do more. There are countless clever strategy games out there, but this series always prided itself on having a massive scale. Pharaoh totally changes that formula as it scales down and rethinks the gameplay flow of the series. Everyone has their favorite Total War game (mine for the record is the original Rome Total War). I’m sure that someone out there will be quite unhappy with some of the Total War changes. But from where I sit as a long-time player, Pharaoh is a total blast, and has me more excited for the future of the series than ever before.

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Oct 12, 2023

Having spent many hours on Infinite, I think I’ve seen all I need to see. Expansions and DLC might bring me back, but now we are talking about gating content behind another paywall. That sounds less enticing to me, especially when there is a more interesting mod available for free. Someone patiently waiting for new Star Trek games will definitely have some fun puzzling through Star Trek: Infinite, but I think I am probably going to go back over that New Horizon.

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88 / 100 - The Iron Oath
Nov 18, 2023

I plan to spend a lot more time with The Iron Oath. In fact, it gets a rare stamp of honor. Even fantastic games can grow old once you’ve played and reviewed it. With The Iron Oath, there’s still so much more for me to learn and see. In fact, I think it’s going to remain installed on my PC for a long while. I can’t foresee another game coming for the merc management throne for a long time.

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65 / 100 - War Hospital
Feb 6, 2024

There’s another way to look at War Hospital which is as some sort of RPG/visual novel. I think this change would actually benefit the themes of the story. There are already existing characters in the story. They are where the game comes closest to realizing its vision. The randomly generated patients by comparison, all feel like unimportant NPCs. War Hospital is all about taking on a role, but you express yourself through tactical decisions. If I spent less time choosing the mortal fates of random named guys, maybe I could have spent more time learning to be Major Henry Wells.

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86 / 100 - The Thaumaturge
Mar 4, 2024

The more time I spend with The Thaumaturge, the more I settle into it. When you spend more time with any game you are bound to notice the edges of things, the literal and figurative invisible walls. But The Thaumaturge was more like a pair of shoes. As I learned the restrictions of what you couldn’t do in the game, it focused me towards things I could do, and they were all awesome. If you have been craving a dark fantasy RPG where you get to play as a John Constantine type, I have good news, The Thaumaturge is it. Anyone looking for their next interesting and original RPG, this is it!

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88 / 100 - Dread Delusion
May 23, 2024

After a while, I forgot I was sick of pixels. I look at Dread Delusion and I don’t see part of a trend. I see a game that set out to capture a particular tone and succeeded wildly. It’s not that playing Dread Delusion is like going back and playing those old games. Dread Delusion allows us to delude ourselves into remembering those games through magenta colored glasses.

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