Gamebytes and Bots
Gamebytes and Bots
GAMEBYTES AND BOTS
THE BEST OF SINGLE PLAYER PC GAMING LATEST REVIEWS

ARE GAME REVIEW SCORES RELEVANT?

Many sites use a number rating system in their reviews. I've chosen not to go this route as reviews are subjective and depending on the player's preferences can net a very different level of satisfaction. It's like ice cream - some like chocolate and some like vanilla and who's to say which flavour is better. The most a review can do is give you an idea of what the game is about, whether the mechanics work properly, whether the graphics are acceptable and whether it has a lot of bugs or not. What it can't do is determine whether any given individual will enjoy it or not as we all like different things. However, some people like a rating system with the most notable site being metacritic, which offers both critic and user ratings. Regrettably, sometimes these scores are not entirely objective and there are many examples of good games with bad scores for one reason or another. Often low scores are used as a form of protest against something the developer has done like introduce microtransactions into full-priced games. Conversely, overly-high critic scores can also be suspect if game journalists are receiving perks. Scores are not entirely worthless, but they should be viewed with a little caution and an understanding of what has driven the ratings. You can often find the official critic scores at extreme odds with the user scores.

Personally, I read reviews just to determine the above things and find them very useful in that regard. I also read forums where you get both negative and positive feedback from other users. However, whether you will like playing a game cannot really be determined by a majority vote. For instance, many people like Real Time Strategy games, and I'm sure there are some great ones that get high marks, but personally I don't like that genre and wouldn't play it, even if it was free. An example of a highly scored game is Alien Isolation, but the mechanic is all stealth, which I'm not very fond off, so even though it's apparently a very good game, I likely wouldn't enjoy it. Conversely, it's hard to imagine people not liking a game like Half-Life, one of the highest rated FPS ever, but it happens.

So my humble advice is that you should not buy games just because they are popular or the latest craze or you will end up with a collection of games you won't play for more than five minutes. This assumes, of course, that your interest is in playing. Some people get satisfaction just in collecting and others think they will like a game and end up getting bored with it. Some get caught up in the hype of new releases before the game has been properly reviewed or because they just like to be involved in current community discussions. But regardless, in practicality it doesn't really matter when you purchase a game if your interest is in playing single-player, however if your main interest is multiplayer, the rules are quite different. These you need to buy in a timely manner when the game is popular. In primarily single-player games, the multiplayer portion usually doesn't stay highly populated for long, although there are some notable exceptions, and older games will likely not have official multiplayer support any more. There are even some of these games where the multiplayer mode is not available at all any more.

So learn to analyse your own likes, dislikes and interests and make purchases that align with these. It took me awhile to learn these lessons myself and to stop adding to a library I could never reasonably have enough time to play.

COMING NEXT TO POST-RELEASE REVIEWS
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Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
This popular spin-off stand-alone expansion of Far Cry 3 is really just a silly excuse to shoot things. But that was the intention.
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Alawar Hidden Object Games
For Hog and Hopa lovers, Alawar's collection is another good choice.
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Deadlight
A zombie by any other name is still a zombie, but we won't hold it against the dev for trying to be different.
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Mafia 2
Is it the bad, good guys or the good, bad guys?
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The Walking Dead 2
Ever wonder what happened to Clem? Now you can find out.
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Wolfenstein The New order
My favorite genre - a first-person shooter with a good story.
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Grim Legends Dark City
Artifex Mundi takes a step forward in the HOPA genre.

GAME REVIEWS

  • LEGEND:
  • !  Game Updates
  • +  Multiplayer
  • §  Co-op
  • m  Mod Support
  • ¤  DLC
  •   New Reviews
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UPDATE: With a security update, Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 no longer support games that use SafeDisc and certain versions of SecuRom.
See Microsoft Support and related articles RockPaperShotgun and How-To Geek

ABOUT THE GAME REVIEWS

Although the information on the site applies to PC gaming in general, the review section is dedicated to the single-player portion of each game and is based on playing that through to its completion. There are no reviews done on partially played games. Nor have I, or do I, receive any free copies or compensation of any kind. Game reviews were done at the time of playing and not at the time of release, which is why they include a date for reference, which tells you that the game was still viably playable at that time. Most of them are no longer being actively supported by the developer, but are still relevant, worth playing, and readily available. Any post-release updates or current news is included after the review as well as any technical problems I experienced and how I solved them. There is also a short bio on the game's history and the developers. Researching this proved enormously informative in discovering just how frequently studios and employees move around in the industry.

Some games have had re-releases in the form of remastered or definitive editions, which kinda makes them new releases again. As these editions usually only upgrade some visuals, performance for newer technology, and may now include the DLC, I don't intend to re-purchase them as this would likely not change the review by much. However, it's duly noted under UPDATES on the game page. You will also find some screenshots and a trailer.

In the sidebar, you can find lots of other information. It includes, where you can purchase it, the system specs, and links to the official sites, other reviews, forums, patches, achievements, cheats, mods and guides. I don't endorse any of these other sites, but have tried to provide only links to reputable sources.

Also on the sidebar is a list of the specs of the machine the game was played on. All of them were either on XP or Windows 7, so there is no references to how they might perform on Windows 8 or 10. However, you will probably find the answer to that through the forum links.

The games list is by no means comprehensive as that would be impossible to achieve with thousands of them on the market. However, I have stuck to my particular likes and dislikes and the games you will find on this site are for the most part good post-release single player games within a reasonable budget. To that end, current new releases will probably not show up on here for some time. There are enough sites dedicated to covering them. If you are interested, you can find current Game News sites listed under the top menu as well as a list of the most legitimate and safe PC stores.

On a final note, maintaining this site has been a lot harder and more time-consuming than I originally anticipated and as this is a one-person hobby project, reviews are added as time allows. I try to maintain a two week schedule, but often life gets in the way and it could take longer.

RECOMMENDED FEATURE
MORE ADVENTURE
Dreamfall is the second game of three and was much anticipated by fans after the popularity of The Longest Journey. Although Dreamfall takes place in the same universe, it is not a direct sequel and replaces the former main character with Zoe Castillo, although April Ryan still plays a central role.
TIPS
TIP:  ABOUT PATCHES - On the Review pages, some games include links to official patches, however, purchasing post-release versions may already include those old patches, especially if you purchase or tie your game key to a client that auto updates games. For eg, most Steam, Origin and Uplay games are auto updated.
However, updates are dependent on the developer supplying them to the distributor so this is not guaranteed and many older games are not officially supported any more. This is where community made mods enter the picture, fixing bugs, adding newer features, upgrading graphics or allowing games to run on newer technology. There are many useful links supplied on the review pages to help you find solutions to running these problematic games.

IS STEAM THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN FOR PC GAMERS?

computer At one time, for PC gamers, I would have said yes, but those days are long gone. As Steam was so incredibly successful in the PC Games arena, adding millions of users every year, it was inevitable that others would eventually want a share of this rather large pie. As digital delivery became more widely accepted, other distribution sites started to pop up. However, Valve had such a head start and did such a good job in actively supporting and promoting PC game development and thereby growing customer loyalty, that to this day, some people remain nervous about buying elsewhere. It's only been within the last few years that people are slowly being weaned from the great mothership.

Unfortunately, growing to such an unwieldy size and continually adding new features and games, Steam has also become very bloated. Valve no longer completely steers the ship and have handed over many functions of the client to the developers and publishers. Unfortunately, Valve has also given up the ghost on communicating with its customers and their poor support has been the brunt of jokes for years. This has resulted in a number of complaints from customers about various issues and has created a certain level of dissatisfaction. The one thing that I've always believed about Valve is that they are great innovators, but lousy housekeepers. Once they have introduced a new feature, it takes them forever to clean up the messy parts, if ever. With their flat management structure, I somehow picture in my imagination that the uncreative jobs like fixing stuff are done only by the employee that draws the short straw for the day.

One of the major impacts of changes to Steam over the years has been smaller game discounts. Although Steam undoubtedly used to have the best prices during sales, that has changed. A number of industry forces have contributed to this, but my own opinion is that Valve has also thrown in the towel on negotiating the best deals for the customer. At one time, during their early growth, they were hungry and now they are not, which allows them to concentrate on other interests while the client basically motors along on its own well-established momentum.

At one time, Steam was the only game in town for PC game developers to get the most exposure, but now there are many other avenues available for selling their games, which often results in better pricing elsewhere. One can surmise that these other distributors are taking less of a cut of the revenue than Steam does, which savings are sometimes passed along to the customer. However, several of these sites offer Steam keys, so you can buy there and add them to your Steam client. This is actually a win, win situation for both the distributors and Steam as both benefit in some way through this symbiotic relationship. The customer also benefits by getting the best price while still being able to use the features of the Steam client, one of which is ease-of-use for downloading and playing games. Therefore, Steam continues to grow in users year in and year out with one of the main attractions being their highly successful free-to-play-games and virtual trading market.

Also, because Steam is more than just a store, offering many community features that are unmatched by anyone else, it appeals to a broad spectrum of interests, and although other clients have varying services, none have quite reached the heights of Steam yet. In 2011, Electronic Arts went on to develop their own client store called Origin and Ubisoft followed suit with Uplay. Gog, a subsidiary of CD Project Red, started by selling older Drm-free games, but have since rapidly grown and continue to add games to their catalogue. They have also introduced an optional download client similar to Steam. Other distributors, such as Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate, Humble Bundle Store, IG Bundle Store, Bundlestars, Direct2Drive and Amazon are all legitimate sellers and are heavily into game distribution in one form or another. Even some individual developers/publishers have stores and sell their games on their own sites.

There are always going to be die-hard Steam fans, but it's nice to know that consumers now also have choices. Steam does not always have the worst prices, but neither do they always have the best deals, even during their highly touted annual sales. Those glory days are gone. So do yourself and your wallet a favour and shop around. Steam is not the only game in town for buying your PC games any more and you can still enjoy the best of both worlds as most sites offer Steam keys. Just be careful to stick with the legitimate ones.

ENHANCING YOUR GAMING EXPERIENCE
WITH MODS
A mod for Half-Life 2 that was so good that Valve hired the creator.
About Mod Support: You will notice that some games have tools released to the community by the developer for the purpose of making mods. Good mods can not only fix bugs, but also extend the life and value of a game. Mods made by the community have typically been free and come in all shapes, sizes and quality. In April 2014, Valve and Bethesda made a move to allow the monetization of mods starting with Skyrim. This received such a tremendous backlash from the community that Valve was forced to remove it. However, the door has been left open for a future iteration of this program on other games. Some mod makers and some developers would like to see this happen and I suspect that this will become more prevalent in the future as this opens up another stream of revenue for the industry.
Update: Bethesda has introduced an ingame mod store called Creation Club to both Fallout 4 and Skyrim and once again the community is in an uproar. So much so that Fallout 4 reviews have gone from very positive to overwhelmingly negative through what is called review bombing. This prompted Steam to introduce Histogram charts to the reviews.
Another development introduced by Valve was to give game developers permission to utilize Valve's Anti-Cheat program (VAC) which allows them to issue bans on their own games. Playing with unauthorized mods installed can be considered cheating, even simple mods that have no effect on other players such as FOV (field of view). Although not intended, in some cases a mod used in single-player mode could be detected as cheating when using online modes. Bans will show up on your Steam profile in red text.