True Fear: Forsaken Souls II

Just completed Forsaken Souls II; a sequel of True Fear Forsaken Souls I, which I reviewed last week. The game is a huge improvement from its prequel! I didn’t expect to like it this much but I was really blown away.

The story took its steady time to unfold and so much has happened since FSI. New characters, new events, and new leads. I love how things are not rushed and the main character lets the player know what she thinks about everything. For once there’s actually a good use for the diary in these games.

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It’s very refreshing not to hinge the entire game on hidden objects. And I have to say the mini games in this installment were absolutely WONDERFUL! Some are straight forward mini-games and some others are very inventive like the use of night vision goggles in various places, swapping items through a time machine, and using a library cart to retrieve books with an RFID-like mechanism. You’re never bored!

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I also absolutely love how items picked up at the beginning of the game stay with you for a very long time, which is unusual with this genre of games. Your inventory grow, which lets you think about how to use the items at your disposal. Some of them can be reused many times before disposing them.

The graphics are superb. The music and sound effects are also top notch. Some find the sequel to be less spooky than the prequel. I personally found this one scarier (that basement part!).

The game is surprisingly massive and there’s a lot to uncover. Using the map to fast travel is definitely a good option.

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Overall I’m super hyped about this installment and I really can’t wait for the third part to come out. I really hope it won’t be too long. Based on the rumors I’ve read online it’s not promising but definitely worth the wait.

This game is part of a trilogy and they’re closely tied. Playing the first part is a must. If you can tolerate the clunkiness of the prequel then you’re in for a treat for the sequel. I bet the third will even be better!

My final score is 4.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 4/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Game link

Game trailer

Related Post: Game Review: True Fear, Forsaken Souls I 

MSW II: Return to Cabot’s Cove

Murder She Wrote II: Return to Cabot’s Cove is a mystery point-and-click game that follows the mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. It is based on a classic TV show of the same name from back in the 80’s. Jessica Fletcher and her adventures were a childhood favorite of mine so I was excited try this out.

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The game includes 3 episodes/cases in the form of books set in the town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Many of the characters you meet are in fact characters from the actual show. The music, graphics and voice acting are very nostalgic to someone that have watched the show. I thought that aspect of the game was well done. In fact I couldn’t help myself as soon as the memorable intro music played I had to make a little happy dance.

Another nice feature is that despite all three cases set on the same map, new locations are unlocked upon starting a new case except for the final case which is set on a completely new location.

There’s plenty of interactions between characters; however, you’re not given the chance to choose your own conversations. Instead, they unfold to keep the story going.

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Much like a standard adventure puzzle game there’s an inventory with minimum item exploitation; a hint system and a journal. The puzzles are considered fairly easy. I thought the mini-games variety was decent but I was a little disappointed that they made you go back to the same puzzles which made it a little boring and repetitive.

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I can see that there are plenty of features that can make the MSW game series unique. Sadly, there aren’t many of them out there. I think there are only 2 games for the computer and a few others in different formats. It’s a shame because the TV show has enough content to turn these games into a hit. It just needs someone to develop these games to make them better and create a culture behind them which would be really nice- kind of like what Herinteractive is doing with Nancy Drew.

Overall the game is average if not a little too easy, but for any Jessica Fletcher fan, this comes as a heartwarming treat!

My final score is 3.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): MAC, Big Fish Games.

Game link

Game trailer

The Painscreek Killings

The Painscreek Killings is a 1st person, point-and-click, free-roaming, mystery game. You begin the adventure as a journalist who wants to find out exactly what has happened in Painscreek to write a compelling story. Upon arrival; however, you find out that the town has been abandoned, gated and many investigators before you were tasked with similar missions but for one reason or another ended up unheard of.

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As soon as the main menu came up, I felt very pleased with what I was seeing. The music is soothing and the graphics look like they’ve been filtered with a vintage lens. In a way the game resembles a walking-simulation but eventually you realize there’s a lot to tackle beyond the surface. I play PLENTY of adventure and mystery games and I consider this game probably the closest I got to a real detective-experience.

The village is very charming and immensely enjoyable to explore. This is a good thing because you’ll find yourself going back and forth through many of its locations. The layout, design and lore were carefully laid out. The various locations are interconnected and will definitely require you to write things down.

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The game doesn’t depend on AI interactions, neither is it a straight-forward puzzler like most detective adventures these days. It heavily depends on visiting each destination, reading journal entries, letters and notes left behind by the village inhabitants and forming a picture. Eventually each location will augment pieces missing in another place until you draw a clear map of who the killer is, what weapon was used and where did the incident take place. In fact, you aren’t bound by a set of events taking place in this game to the point where you could end the game at anytime and immediately solve the mystery if you think you’re ready.

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I truly loved this game. It felt pleasantly immersive and from the moment I started the game to the very end it kept me hooked. The horror factor in the game isn’t associated with goblins and monsters but there is a very prominent creepy theme going on. I consider games with subtle touches of horror far more effective than those that deliver it to your face.

While playing this game the weather wasn’t that great and we encountered a big storm that left us staying at home for days. This game was the perfect companion. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and following up with their leads. I also had a lot of fun experimenting with different note-taking apps to help me organize my thoughts & solve the investigation. Google Keep & Simple Mind mapping helped a great deal. The following is a mind map that I created for the game and it really helped to keep track of who’s who and who’s related to what. Although it doesn’t include the answer of the mystery, you might not want to zoom in too much to avoid spoilers.

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My final score is 5/5 ★★★★★

  • 5/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 5/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 5/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Official Site

Links: Trailer

Review: Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of The Tomb Raider is the third game of the Square Enix’ Tomb Raider series. It takes place after the events of the second game Rise of The Tomb Raider. In short and without saying too much, the story centers on Lara Croft’s adventures in South America as she battles, yet again, the military organization Trinity and tries to put a stop to a Mayan apocalypse.

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I plunged into The Shadow of Tomb Raider without actually remembering the previous games. For the most part it was fine except for some references to characters here and there that I completely forgot about.

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The game stood out the most compared to its counterparts for the following reasons:

  • There are more puzzles and less combat
  • The puzzles are more complex
  • The world itself feels far-ranging than the other two
  • The culture (particularly Paititi)  portrayed in the game is distinct (although reminded me a lot of Assassins’ Creed Origins

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Having said that, there were a few things that I didn’t like. The story, for example, is a bit mundane. The gameplay eventually became predictable too. After mountain climbing there’s definitely a grappling hook. After a cliff jump there’s usually a diving session. After a temple puzzle there’s always combat and then rinse and repeat. Even the combats can be predictable in the number of enemies you get and where they are situated. Another issue I have with the Square Enix Tomb Raider games is the leveling up mechanics. I find myself never too excited or motivated to unlock skills like I am with other games because I find the variety of skills a bit boring and to be honest useless compared to lets say games such as Dying Light, Fallout and Far Cry games. In fact, I pretty much got through the entire game without upgrading any survivor skills and it didn’t feel like I missed anything.

Overall the game isn’t overly bad but it isn’t anything special either. I would probably say that it’s not worth the full price to be honest. I would recommend renting it or borrowing it from a friend instead.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★★

  • 4/5 for gameplay
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): Sony Playstation 4

Links: Trailer