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Clerks is the very definition of a movie with a distinct writing style. If you’ve seen it, then you know to expect copious amounts of sarcasm and memorable characters. Thankfully, the return of Jeff Anderson as Randal and Jason Mewes as Jay mean that the characters you remember feel right. This isn’t a Clerks sequel and Kevin Smith isn’t involved, and that just makes it all the more impressive that it feels like it could be. READ MORE

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There are increasingly more options for those looking to play some local multiplayer sessions, but sometimes you just want to settle down to something familiar and comfortable. Eventually, though, those games start to lose their appeal, as you exhaust all of the game’s options and generally run it into the ground. In this edition of Multitap, I’m talking about ways to breathe new life into those old experiences, and even provide some much-needed variety to extend the lifespan of newer games well before they get to that point. READ MORE

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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.

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Serotonin’s criteria are simple: did a video game connect with me on an emotional level? Did it make me happy? Sad? Angry? Confused? Bored? Thrilled? As long as I remember it in a meaningful way, it doesn’t matter what the game is. I’ve been pondering lately if the emotional connection is tied to a specific aspect of a game. Am I more moved by musical scores, or do I find peace in gazing upon a particularly beautiful level?

I used to think the ultimate satisfaction came through gameplay. Was I comfortable with the jumping sections? Did the controls help or hinder my progress? How did beating each level make me feel? These are questions I ask myself frequently. It’s a sign of a great game when it connects with me purely through its gameplay. Isn’t that what a video game should be? Games are an experience you control; you are in charge of the progression. You tell your own story, you create your own struggles and triumphs through your own, personal input. Nothing else matters if the gameplay is subpar.

But then came  Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and my supposed unshakable foundation of game philosophy was disrupted in a wonderful way.

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Bayonetta 2 is a direct follow-up to the 2009 original, in which the title character had to shoot her way through wave after wave of angels to prevent the destruction of the world at the hands of a resurrected Creator. Taking down a god was bound to have some repercussions, and that’s where Bayonetta finds herself when one of her summoned demons misbehaves, inadvertently killing fellow Umbra Witch Jeanne and sending her soul to Inferno. READ MORE

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As a successor to both Civilization V and Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth lands a lot closer to the former.  From the start, the game tries to show a natural progression from Civ V‘s science victory, though the feeling I got from the intro was a bit more grim than the ending sequence in Civ. As with Alpha Centauri, you take command of one faction as you make landfall on an alien world. READ MORE

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Pairs is what co-designer James Ernest calls a “new classic pub game.” It’s a dirt-simple game that can be played anywhere at any time, and requires nothing more than a single deck of specialized cards and a knowledge of the very basic rules. And yet it is so much more; more than anything else, Pairs is an illustration of how many different ways a simple design can be used by creative minds. READ MORE

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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

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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.

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In this episode, Andrew, Graham and Henry are joined by Chris Ingersoll as they explore the world of Insomniac’s latest, Sunset Overdrive. This episode’s topics: the cool action of Bayonetta 2, the surprisingly-solid Samurai Warriors 4, Firaxis taking Civ to space, the Xbox One price drop, all the Smash Bros. announcements and the preposterous fact that Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘s Pascal is still saying new things.

(Editor’s note: technical difficulties caused audio issues during the first part of the show. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.