Andrew Passafiume

ngp_acunity

Assassin’s Creed is one of the most inconsistently amazing and frustrating franchises of the past five years. It utilizes immense creativity and takes us on journeys we rarely experience in other games, yet does so covered in the annoyances that seem to coat most triple-A games these days. Needless to say, it’s a mess of a franchise, but one with an unparalleled amount of potential.

READ MORE

personaQ5

Due to the popularity of the recent Persona games, specifically Persona 3 and 4, we’ve seen a good number of spin-off titles released featuring both casts. If you find yourself interested in these two groups of characters interacting and aren’t particularly fond of fighting games, you’re in luck: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is finally here.

Featuring every character you know and love from both titles and gameplay reminiscent of the Etrian Odyssey series, Persona Q seems to appeal only to a very specific audience, but one that will find plenty to keep them busy.

READ MORE

abirdstory3

It can be easy to forget how tough telling a compelling story in a video game can be. Some games do it brilliantly, like last year’s Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, but others tend to struggle. Sometimes telling a story within an interactive medium requires sacrificing some of the gameplay in order for the narrative to stand front and center. Kan Gao, the creator of one of my favorite games, To the Moon, fully understands this. No one will call it a masterwork of game design, but few can deny the impact of its story.

In lieu of a proper review, I thought I would take the time to talk about Kan Gao’s latest title, A Bird Story. Although it features no dialogue and is a lighter story than To the Moon, it’s a yet another prime example of finely-crafted interactive fiction.

READ MORE

CODadvancedwarfare2

Another year, another Call of Duty. After last year’s release, Ghosts, disappointed just about everyone, it can be easy to see why some might be wary about the future of the franchise. No one will deny even the most lackluster titles in the series are still competent, but with diminishing returns beginning to set in, many are skeptical we’ll see any new groundbreaking changes with the latest entry, Advanced Warfare. It may not set the world on fire, but there is something to be said about newcomer Sledgehammer Games’ attempt to breathe new life into the franchise.

READ MORE

SunsetOverdrive1

If there’s anything Insomniac Games, the studio behind the Ratchet and Clank series, is known for, it’s bringing together a handful of small, yet vital mechanics to create slick and entertaining package. While its last major release, Fuse, fell short of almost everyone’s expectations due to its lack of, well, everything that makes an Insomniac game stand out, the same can’t be said of Sunset Overdrive. It’s a breath of fresh air from a studio that seemed to be losing its way. READ MORE

ngp_tewalien

I’ve written a lot about horror games, specifically regarding how the genre has gone through a bit of a renaissance in recent years. There have been a surprising number of quality horror games, and with the recent announcement of a new Silent Hill title, plus Capcom’s supposed effort to bring Resident Evil back to its roots, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing plenty more.

This brings me to this month’s newest horror releases: Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within. Both are modern horror games, yet they both approach the genre from entirely different perspectives. Best of all, you can look at both games as example of how to do modern horror right and how to do it, well, not so right.

READ MORE

theevilwithin2

After nearly ten years away from a genre he helped pioneer, Shinji Mikami has returned to his survival horror roots with his latest title, The Evil Within. Focusing less on action and more on atmosphere and the “survival” aspect of survival horror, The Evil Within attempts to bridge the gap between the old ways of the genre and its current status. Unfortunately, it’s an experience that only rarely delivers on its potential.

READ MORE

ngp_forza

There’s something calming about driving in video games. This is especially true of open-world driving games, many of which allow you to explore and learn more about the world you are (virtually) inhabiting. I do enjoy driving in Grand Theft Auto and the like, but it’s not the same. The original Forza Horizon and its recently released sequel are more my speed. It provides a similar feeling as sailing, but the sense of speed and (sometimes) laid back atmosphere the Forza Horizon games provide manage to scratch a different itch.

READ MORE

alienisolation2

Few films have inspired a generation of action-focused science fiction, both in games and other movies, more than James Cameron’s Aliens. While the titles inspired by Aliens are generally excellent, the ones based directly on that property haven’t fared as well. This is where Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation comes in. Based entirely on the original horror film that spawned the franchise, Isolation is a subtler take on its source material and, as a result, manages to make more of an impact.

READ MORE

shadowofmordor2

Like with any licensed property, games based on Lord of the Rings, and Middle-earth as a whole, have been mixed. There are certainly a few stand-outs, but there are just as many (if not more so) poorly made cash-grabs. With such a rich lineage from which to borrow, the potential for an excellent game in this universe seemed untapped. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Monolith’s take on the series, is different, taking a license in exciting directions rarely seen from larger studios.

READ MORE