Despite not being as prolific or revered as Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire, Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher novels have maintained a significant following in Europe since the early 1990s. Thanks to developer CD Projekt Red, The Witcher has begun to rise in popularity in the past decade, and with the release of the third game in the series, Wild Hunt, its ever-expanding audience continues to grow. Thanks to a healthy mix of BioWare’s conversation choices and Bethesda’s open-world sensibilities, The Witcher games have always managed to feel both familiar and distinct. Thankfully, Wild Hunt upholds this tradition.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was refreshingly nostalgic. Everything looked amazing but acted like a classic shooter. It was up to me to pick up health packs and ammo, and I could carry every gun I found. There was absolutely no gray area: B.J. is the good guy, Nazis are the bad guys and you have to kill every one of them to win. Layered atop that were characters that I cared about and weapons that were all a joy to use. There’s nothing quite like swapping over to a double-barreled shotgun and laying waste to a room of pure, concentrated evil. The Old Blood falls short of its big brother in its characters and story, but the mechanics are sound and I had fun all the way through. READ MORE
China, as it turns out, is a perfect setting for an Assassin’s Creed game. While Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China plays quite unlike other titles in the franchise, the 2D spinoff retains the spirit and feel of the world. Gone are the open world and filler side content, and here to stay are the stealth kills, free form exploration and templar-assassin lore. I’ll admit, I’ve played enough Assassin’s Creed by now that I’m feeling quite burned out on the series, but even with the fatigue, there are enough new ideas present here to make it worth a play. READ MORE
Not content to keep the Dynasty Warriors-style action games focused on the warfare of the Three Kingdoms in China, Tecmo Koei created Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War early in the last console generation, a game that instead focused on the clash between France and England. With Bladestorm: Nightmare, Koei Tecmo revisits the conflict on current consoles, adding an alternate fantasy storyline for you to play through. Unfortunately, it fixed none of the systemic problems plaguing the original, and the new story mode fails to really deliver. Still, though, it may appeal to its fans, who know what to expect at this point.
Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally a Japanese PSP release, and one of the very few two-UMD games. Fans waited impatiently for a US release, but the PSP was already dead in North America and the Vita wasn’t selling particularly well. In the end, what really saved this title’s localization hopes was the crazy speed at which Western audiences picked up the PS4 and Square Enix’s desire to jump on the opportunity. Type-0 HD is out on Xbox One as well, but PlayStation still drives any Final Fantasy decisions; the vast majority of people who buy Japanese games do so on Sony’s platforms. READ MORE
These days, it won’t take you long to stumble upon a new Metroid-inspired game. Seriously, they’re everywhere. As a result, not too many of them actually stand out or move away from the standard formula in any remarkable ways. Enter Ori and the Blind Forest, a 2D action-platformer in the same vein as Metroid and its various counterparts. It doesn’t break the mold completely, but it manages to prove you don’t need to in order to create something truly special.
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
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.