As the line between games and movies continually gets more blurred, it was eventually bound to happen: a game that took things too far. The Order: 1886 should serve as the point when a game takes away too much control and player interaction in an effort to produce a more cinematic product. On the technical side, the game succeeds wildly, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s the most graphically impressive game I’ve ever played (especially on a console). Unfortunately, there isn’t enough actual fun to be had to recommend the title for much else beyond its presentation. READ MORE
As I made my way across a shallow river, my foot slipped, I cracked my head against a rock and floated downstream on the current. Upon regaining consciousness, I suddenly found myself beset by bandits. How many, you ask? I won’t know until the dealer reveals the next card, but with my luck, it won’t be good for me. In Hand of Fate, a unique blend of deck-building, action-RPG and choose-your-own-adventure, my luck is rarely good. READ MORE
With so many indie games flooding the gaming space these days, it has become unsurprisingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. Thankfully, many developers are stepping up, crafting games with innovative gameplay hooks, or in the case of the new side-scroller Apotheon, unique visuals. Inspired by ancient Greek mythology and utilizing an art style which truly looks unlike any other game, Apotheon attempts to draw you in with its surface-level hooks, but doesn’t deliver gameplay to match its incredible aesthetic.
In 2008, Turtle Rock Studios evolved the cooperative shooter with the landmark release Left 4 Dead. In the years since that title’s release, there have been other developers pushing the genre forward by iterating on that original blueprint. With Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios sets out to make the next big leap in this game space again by focusing on asymmetrical gameplay. The result is an interesting concept that plays unlike nearly anything else I’ve experienced, and is incredibly exciting and fun when it works on all fronts. Unfortunately, far too often the actual matches fall far short of this occasional glimmer, and a frustratingly slow progression system makes the game feel more sluggish than fun. READ MORE
Developers rarely attempt to focus on our teenage years in games, but when it does happen, it goes surprisingly well. I’m thinking of Gone Home or even the Persona series, which isn’t entirely about high school students yet the drama of that time in their lives is ever-present. Dontnod, the team behind 2013’s Remember Me, attempts something similar with Life is Strange, an episodic drama focused on an 18-year-old and her time in private school.
The first episode, Chrysalis, introduces us to a diverse cast of characters and a plot that seems to be heading in some interesting directions, complete with a science fiction twist that ties it all together.
The HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series captures the raw brutality of the world in such vivid detail that there have been many moments that made me physically turn away. When Telltale announced it was going to set a game in this universe, I was highly skeptical that it could replicate this feeling. So far in the first two episodes of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series, I have been very impressed at how well it has captured the necessary violence and inhumanity while blending it seamlessly with the political intrigue so indicative of the series. READ MORE
With the current renaissance of the adventure game underway thanks to companies like Telltale, it can be easy to forget the genre had dried up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Before then, LucasArts, at the top of its game, released a slew of excellent adventure titles, many of which are considered classics. The last in its long line of well-received adventure games was Grim Fandango, a neo-noir comedy taking place in the Land of the Dead.
Widely considered one of the best adventure games around upon its initial release, Grim Fandango has now been faithfully remastered, containing everything that made the original special and then some.
Whenever an HD remaster is announced, certain things flow through your head. Will it play exactly as you remember it? Does the story live up to today’s standards? Has the way the developer looked at a game changed over time? Considering the state of affairs with the Resident Evil series, you find yourself asking these questions way too often. Cameras that (kind of) work? Action over tension? Co-op? Gratuitous amounts of ammo and inventory space? Back in 1996, these were probably the furthest things from any Resident Evil fan’s mind, but for better or worse, the series has survived six main numbered games and a number of spin-offs.
With Resident Evil HD Remaster serving as an upgrade to the 2002 remake, was it worth revisiting this entry for a third time? READ MORE
Despite the overabundance of zombie-related games, Techland made a name for itself with its 2011 release, Dead Island. It was an open-world action game with some light RPG elements, focused entirely on surviving the zombie hordes. Techland’s latest game, Dying Light, is similar in many ways, but focuses more on traversal and the survivalist aspects of Dead Island, making for a more self-serious experience. In some ways it surpasses Dead Island, but its shortcomings aren’t too dissimilar.
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is short. There is absolutely no denying that. The implications of its short length, however, are that within 30 minutes of play, you’ll have traded out Gat for Kinzie, learned how to fly, unlocked the ability to summon imps to fight on your side, collected over 50 soul clusters and persuaded Shakespeare to fight on your side against Satan in your quest to save The Boss and keep him from being forcibly wed to Satan’s daughter Jezebel. READ MORE