IMMERSION: Formula One, two thousand thirteen is a driving game, so it gets some immersion from the familiarity of the experience. Beyond that, the game has several camera modes with various degrees of immersion to be obtained from them. The car cockpits are well rendered, as are the exteriours of the cars in those modes. Audio in game seems accurate enough, though it might not be completely accurate or unique to each car and aficionados of the sport might notice and lose immersion from it. Visually, the experience seems immersive enough. Cars seem well rendered, but environments are not necessarily wonderfully well rendered. The in game menus are functional and not unattractive, although they don't impart immersion. Pre-race menus are not bad either. It is possible to tweak the cars to player specific desires in a variety of ways, which fans of the sport will enjoy. One more note before we move on. The way everything comes together in a race day is impressive, the fewer assists the player uses, the more the game forces the player into an artificially enhanced immersion. (12/15) Only starting our own fictional team and having personal liveries could make it more immersive. As it is, cars are just cars, the player doesn't experience a sense of agency over the car itself.
DIFFICULTY: Difficulty in the game is very adjustable, almost everything can be extensively tweaked. Opponent AI is the only exception, though it probably does get tweaked, it's just not declared. It is highly suggested that players instead of using the gross adjustment, use the "custom settings," option as the difficulty settings can make races seem impossible to win when the assists interrupt too aggressively. Braking assist is likely the chief offender in this category, sometimes seeming to reduce acceleration drastically, to the point that several positions are lost. It is possible to compensate by adjusting the car setup so it is high speed and low downforce, the simple slider is the suggested way of doing this (10/15) Good options, but not great and having to compensate for aggressive interference pulls it down.
LASTING APPEAL: With a variety of game modes including classics mode, which is deep enough to support it's own game, this game will keep players going for a while. Players are encouraged to increase the difficulty on themselves. It won't keep the player going as long as a GT racing game, but it has staying power that should keep it in player collections. (9/15)
OVERALL (10.5/15) a good game that offers good immersion, but not as good in any other category. Good for a driving game, just don't binge play.
IMMERSION: Assassin's Creed 4, or AC4 for short is a third person game so it must first try to immerse players in the character, and the world second. AC4's main character is a Welshman called Edward Kenway, who went to sea to seek his fortune and ended up in the Caribbean fighting in the conflict called "Queen Anne's War." He is an opportunist, who really doesn't mind working for either Templars or Assassins. So, he has something of a personality, even if it is a bit weak. AC4 reintroduces players to the open sea and captaining an 18th century sailing ship. It works for a while, but the length of time it immerses the player in sailing and naval combat is dependent on performance. The on shore missions are similar to other AC games, and do not seem to offer much in the immersion department. Graphically, AC4 offers some immersion, but repeat players will be more accustomed to it and so the effect is lessened. The audio is agreeable, but after about the second repeat of a sea shanty it loses impact. Combat, that is hand to hand combat in AC4 offers some immersion because it is seemingly quicker than previous games, more frantic, but it is almost too quick, making it less a question of skill or challenge than luck, pressing the right button at the right time. That reduces the impact of combat and the immersion value. Overall, though it doesn't really immerse the player for very long in any one aspect of gameplay, it will at least keep players occupied with a substantial amount of tasks to complete. (8/15) dropping quickly to (6/15)
DIFFICULTY; AC4 is an open world game, there are no difficulty sliders to adjust. The naval combat is a worthwhile challenge, until the player's ship gets upgraded sufficiently, mortars and the like, and or the player learns effective naval tactics, crossing T's and such. Combat in inclement weather is more difficult. Hand t hand combat is as previously noted seemingly more difficult. The game's controls are unchanged, and work well enough without impeding enjoyment. Apart from the usual assassin's creed issues of the random climbing and jumping. Overall (7.5/15)
LASTING APPEAL: As previously noted, the lasting appeal of the game falls off pretty quickly. If players elect to adopt a completionist approach, obsessively getting every upgrade it will last a bit longer. 7.5/15
OVERALL: On the whole, it's not a bad game at all, Ubisoft seems to have found a way of getting around the animus and making it plausible, finally making the modern sections interesting. May Ubisoft keep doing that. Naval combat loses immersion quickly, and hand to hand combat gets old. Then the story loses impact once players realise Edward is uninterested in anything but his own interests (7.6/15)
SUBJECTIVE SIDE NOTE: Naval combat was unique and new in AC3, like the toy in a Kinder Surprise egg. In AC4 you've got fire hose of chocolate fired at you and plastic toys raining down on you. Good for a while, but it's not so good every day. A first person HD Sid Meier's Pirates, this isn't.
IMMERSION: The Bureau: XCOM, declassified attempts to immerse players in combat by forcing the player to think about it. Movements and shots are intended to be planned. Much like real battles though the best trap often falls apart and combat becomes desperate defense rather than aggressive assault. This relies on the player being open to the concept, something all players might not be. The Bureau offers impressive and authentic seeming levels to explore. Thus, it is graphically immersive. The story of "The Bureau" is seemingly typical, and will be familiar to fans of science-fiction films. For that reason it will be easily ignored by those players, as they try to get back into combat missions. Sound design in The Bureau is standard issue, the radio broadcasts seem to have the most impact, but things like weapon sounds and voice acting does not impress itself on the memory. Had weapon sounds been more impactful, or maybe that can be adjusted, the game would be more aurally immersive. Players receive some measure of agency over their recruits, allowing them to change names, and other minor aspects of the characters. (7/15)
DIFFICULTY: Not terrible, the game explains what different settings do, and apart from some awkwardness with the control setup, they don't interfere with enjoyment substantially. Where there is an issue is with the combat. The game spawns a "mini - boss" which ups the difficulty substantially which may be a vehicle or an armoured fighting vehicle. (7/15)
LASTING APPEAL: Limited. If a game was asking for a horde mode, this would be the game for it. Without DLC the only available mode of play is the campaign. So, what about the campaign mode? Campaign enjoyment falls off quickly if there is a substantial break in play sessions. It is likely only the name X-COM that will get players returning to it. (5/15)
OVERALL: (6.7/15) Below average. I'll admit that I wanted this game to be good. X-COM for people who don't like or aren't lucky in turn based strategy games. Unfortunately the software doesn't live up to the promise or premise. It begs to be compared to the turn based strategy game, but doesn't borrow the elements players might desire to see.