October 2013


The Dark Knight has come a long way since the days of the first Batman games. It had gotten so bad that any fans of the character were thankful for even a mediocre game. Thankfully, 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum changed everything for both Batman and comic-based games in general. Both it and its follow-up, Arkham City, are considered by many to be two of the best superhero games around.

Now, with Batman: Arkham Origins, a new developer is brought on to tell a prequel story all about Batman’s first encounters with some of his most famous villains. After two stellar titles, expectations are high; unfortunately, the game fails to meet those expectations in many ways.



Humor is difficult to do in video games. Adventure games have an advantage as they lean more heavily on their story than their mechanics, but it’s still hard to make your audience laugh when you have no idea if they’ll get stuck on a puzzle between setting up the joke and delivering the punch line. Daedalic manages it, though. The whole experience is a joy, for both newcomers to the series and veterans of Rufus and Goal’s quest to save their junk planet from being destroyed by the citizens of Elysium above. READ MORE


I’ve been playing the just-released Wii Party U this week. It’s home to some objectively-atrocious game design at times, and it features arguably the most obnoxious character in the history of games. Still, Wii Party U can be very fun, when it knows to be a party game first and foremost. READ MORE


Tt Games struck gold with Lego Star Wars in 2005, and the concept still works more than 10 games later. Lego Marvel Super Heroes, thankfully and unsurprisingly, takes its cues more from Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes than from Lego Lord of the Rings, which means that while the world is wide open, it feels a bit more contained. Normally in an open-world game you want more space instead of less, but packing the activities closer together for a dense experience works when the traversal is just a means to an end. As much as I love the Lord of the Rings universe, I was ready for a central hub and level select like the older games have, and I never felt that way while playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes. READ MORE


Skylanders, the franchise filled with both dungeon-crawling fun and rampant consumerism, is back for a third installment. The second, Giants, suffered from a series of half-steps, from a largely-recycled engine and hastily-put-together levels to mechanical innovation that’s largely limited to “what if you were really big?” It was also fairly short. Thankfully, Vicarious Visions steps in as lead developer for Swap Force, bringing in some fresh concepts as well as a desire to both prove itself and sustain a retail empire that could collapse without proper care. READ MORE