The lights are on
Phil, I am not quite understanding how you gave Catherine a 7 when you praised EVERYTHING about the game except for the puzzle aspect. From your review, I gathered that you enjoy most everything about every feature of the game except the puzzles. I am also currently playing this game(on Hard and loving it, despite occasional frustrations), and while I can understand that the puzzles do not(yet) seem to fit into the overall narrative, I still am enjoying the challenge. And I also am disappointed to learn that the ending is solely based on decisions you make in the puzzles rather than story narrative. But yes, 20 deaths on a puzzle is really rough, but those of us who went into this knowing it to be a hard puzzle game hopefully wanted it to be just that: Hard. And so when I finally got a gold grade on the first stage after half an hour of ensuring my multiplier was constantly maxed and that I was efficient in block moving and gathering gold coins, I whooped in triumph!
I definitely could see how, if puzzle games are not really your thing, how this play style could get repetitive, but if you REALLY enjoy everything else about the game, I am surprised to see you dock the game 3 whole points on puzzles alone. You praise the soundtrack, seem to really enjoy the story, graphic design and the characters. You also do not really comment on the game mechanics being frustrating, difficult to learn or if they are poorly implemented(which from my current experience they do not seem to be). So again to sum up, I am just surprised that the puzzle aspect of the game seemed to almost completely ruin the experience for you. I haven't played far enough to give this game an honest score myself, but I am enjoying the heck out of it and hope that Atlas goes forward from this with more HD games for their franchise titles.
You know, I have to completely agree with you. Having played through the entire game, I expected to die often, that was really no surprise from the outset. However, the difficulty of play having that high of an impact on the review I thought was ludicrous. The story is fresh, the content interesting and different. With all those going for it, especially noted in all the reviewers positive notes, it wouldn't be .25 AWAY FROM DUKE NUKEM! Seriously? You love everything but the puzzles are too hard? The puzzles were supposed to be frustrating and honestly, finishing them made me feel so successful. Granted the bosses were all a bunch of bastards, but all the techniques you need to use are readily available, it just requires patience and brainpower.
So the fact that the original reviewer had that much trouble and even got a terrible ending leads me to believe this just wasn't his kind of game from the start. Which makes me wonder why he was reviewing it in the first place?
Jonathan and Sagelobu took the words out of my mouth. This game deserves a score higher than the seven it received. I have loved every minute I put into the game and plan to return to it for the different endings.
(+1 to the mention of being .25 from Duke Nukem... pretty ridiculous)