Despite my insatiable urges to slaughter digital monsters, I don’t consider myself a violent person. I’ve never been in a real physical fight, nor do I plan or want to. But I’m no saint; I don’t totally remove myself from any kind of physical conflict. I probably say “hit him!” while watching a hockey game more than recommend my team shoot or score. I’ve watched UFC, professional wrestling and even some boxing matches. The preparation, technical skill and thrill of competition sweeps over me when watching the combatants, but that isn’t anything special or unique. I still don’t want to be in their position, nor do I lack empathy when I discover the short and long-term injuries these athletes suffer in the name of entertainment. READ MORE
Strategy games have taken many forms over the years. From running a successful business to conquering territories or taking the fight directly to your opponents in real-time battles, it has everything you would want and then some. Now, you might be asking, “what if I want a strategy game that lets me carefully plan my escape from a highly secure prison?” First, that’s an oddly specific question which somehow only relates to this particular review. Second, The Escapists is the game for you.
While it could be described as a puzzle game as much as a strategy game, The Escapists is all about learning the ins and outs of your temporary confinement and finding a way to successfully break free.
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
I want to like Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry when I turn down all of the graphical options as low as they go to bring the frame rate to a reasonable level. I expect the seas to be choppy. My system exceeds the recommended specs handily, and running at medium settings produces a pirate-themed slideshow. READ MORE
When looking at the lineup of games published by NIS America, hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary doesn’t exactly fit in. You’re expecting to see more anime-styled RPGs and strategy games with a lot of humor and assorted silliness. You’re expecting to see months of gameplay and a sensibility that seems out-of-place among most Western titles but right at home on a system like the Vita. You’re expecting to see exploding penguins.
The last thing you’re expecting to see is The Firefly Diary. 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
When games try to be funny, it’s often either an unquestionable success or a tasteless bore. Thankfully, the point-and-click adventure genre is a well-traveled road when it comes to humor. The number of incorrect paths and red herrings inherent to the genre lead to many opportunities for writers to practice their wit, without having to remain in line with an ongoing story. Book of Unwritten Tales 2 continues the first game’s ability to capture this perfectly. 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