When this past generation began, fighting games seemed to be on their last legs. Capcom fighters were nowhere in sight, Sega’s Virtua Fighter laid hidden in the deepest of digital fight clubs, and Namco’s Tekken a...
We've had plenty of racing games come out at console launches, but we've never had a Forza Motorsport game. Don't get me wrong -- I love powersliding around silly tracks while rocking out to Japanese techno anthems. It's just that as a racing fan, I'll end up wanting more later.
Where your typical launch racer might be a tasty fast food cheeseburger, a new Forza game would be like a dry-aged cowboy ribeye, broiled medium, and topped with butter and grilled onions. I want more. I want something I can sink my teeth into. I want something that will leave me full and satisfied, fat and happy.
I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room, lost in my Vita because doctors are terrible timekeepers. 2:00 pm means 2:00 pm, life-saving scumbag. Suddenly, I was looking at dimly lit tartan chairs and an old, wrinkled man with a mustache of frayed steel wool.
When I realized it was the seats and man across from me, a hole ripped open in the waiting room, spewing shredded strips of paper, and I fell into the papery world of Tearaway.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 grew from being a simple game console to an all-in-one entertainment box over the last eight years or so, somehow squeezing in everything from multiplayer gaming to streaming movies and television.
And now that they're on a roll, their new console, the Xbox One, embraces that complete system idea. They've packed the Xbox One with the technology and features needed to give us the games and other entertainment forms we'll seek out in this next generation, while adding in new control schemes and television support.
In other words, they've built a big box for their big push into our living rooms.
Mario and I go way back. Although I had dabbled in a few Atari games when I was younger, Super Mario Bros. for the NES was my first real game that I sat down and played from start to finish. Since then, I've collected and played every main series Mario game, adding a steady stable of all time favorites to my list. Why am I telling you all this, you may ask?
Because I want you to know that I have a basis for comparison for the newly released Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U -- so when I say it's one of the greatest Mario games ever made, I mean it.
I really love role-playing games, and I will usually put up with some flaws if the overall experience is interesting. A bad game can have a couple of good mechanics, and I will probably play it longer than I should. When I started up Legends of Aethereus I thought it would be a mediocre role-playing game with a weird steampunk fantasy setting. After playing it for a few hours I realized that it was actually a bad game cleverly disguised as a mediocre game.
Sure, it has some cute tricks up its sleeve, but after the first mission I felt like I had seen everything the game had to offer. Fifteen hours later I realized that I was right -- the first mission does have everything this game has to offer
Remember daydreaming about a system that would let you buy and download games online, and then let you share your experiences socially? There was a day when the concept seemed so far off, but now that system is finally here. We've been talking about Sony's next game console for years, so it feels kind of weird to actually have one now.
The PS4 is a blend of technologies we expected and features we didn't. It's a clear step forward from where the PlayStation brand has come, and a statement on where Sony thinks games are going. It's less about what it is and more about what it does.
As the spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon franchise, Crimson Dragon has some big shoes to fill. The talent is there, as the former director of the first three Panzer games and a Panzer composer are attached, but the prospect of Kinect gameplay and an Xbox One exclusivity deal made things a bit hard to swallow.
The forced Kinect scheme has since been dropped, and as time went on, the game looked better and better. Although it may not be quite up to par with some of the masterful games it takes inspiration from, it's a fine successor all the same for old and new fans alike.
A lot of doubts filled the air when Dead Rising 3 was announced. As both an Xbox One exclusive and a Capcom-produced title, not a whole lot of excitement was abound when the game was first announced. Then you add in the "We're going for a Call of Duty audience" developer comments, and you have one certified shit-storm of a release.
But nothing compares to actually playing it for yourself, and I'm pleased to say that the third iteration of this now famous franchise has risen (ha!) to the occasion. In fact, Dead Rising 3 is the first game I've seen that really harnesses the power of next-gen consoles.
I've always had a soft spot for SpyHunter. Although Twisted Metal and other arena-based shooters are great in their own right, there's something special about an action racing game that lets you hit the open road.
LocoCyle is kind of like that. But add in a few sentient talking motorcycles, crazy biker gangs, a plot for world domination, and an innocent mechanic forced along for the ride. Yep, it's pretty hard to explain, but I'll try.
Like any good racer, the Need for Speed franchise never stops moving. They've come a long way since the early '90s, though the last few years' releases have been more about refinement of the formula than anything else, moving more towards an open world structure.
The latest in the franchise, Need for Speed: Rivals, takes a big step by going all-in on one mode that combines a single-player campaign with online multiplayer. The rest -- including the cops, the cars, and the crashing -- stay the same. In a sense, they've made it so players can jump in and go fast without having to worry about the details.
There aren't many games out there that deal with children and their struggle to cope with situations that we take for granted every day. While there are some stories out there like Papo & Yo, the market isn't exactly filled with them, leaving a rather sizable gap for others to take their place.
Here to answer the call on the launch of the PlayStation 4 comes Contrast, the adventure of a young girl named Didi and her imaginary shadow friend Dawn. Contrast isn't a system-seller by any means, but it's a great little distraction for a rainy afternoon.
Roguelike elements have been steadily gaining popularity in the past few years, especially among independent developers. Titles like The Binding of Isaac, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Spelunky have taken the ideas of random level generation and short games usually ending in permanent character death, and applied them masterfully to each of their own gameplay genres.
Risk of Rain follows in those footsteps, applying the same roguelike mechanics to an exploration-based sidescrolling shooter. Like the aforementioned games, it can be brutal, with punishingly impossible scenarios and quick defeat for those who are not prepared. Unlike them, Risk of Rain suffers from a few technical issues that detract from what is otherwise a great experience.
In recent years, Zelda games have gotten a tad too flowery. What was once a true open world adventure involving a hero thrown into the great unknown with the ability to explore to his heart's content, has become something else entirely. With lengthy intros, gated content, and other trappings, there's more action than adventure in some Zelda games.
As a direct sequel to the SNES game A Link to the Past (my personal favorite Zelda), A Link Between Worlds seeks to rectify these issues by letting you get on with it as soon as possible. At the core of this concept is the "item renting" system, that lets you obtain every key item in less than an hour of playtime, opening up the world like never before.
But one great idea doesn't make a great game, and A Link Between Worlds is lacking one major ingredient -- heart.
Every system launch needs a good platformer, right? Knack is a bit different from, say, Crash Bandicoot or Ratchet and Clank, but it does feel like it takes a bit from both games. Of course, that has a lot to do with the its creator, Mark Cerny.
Cerny worked on both Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank, as well as other top PlayStation platformers like Spyro the Dragon. It’s great then that the PS4 has a launch game with such solid PlayStation platforming DNA.
But is Knack strong enough of a platformer to lead the way into next-gen?
For franchise sequels that accompany system launches, it's not uncommon to see the reuse of assets or game engines. We've come to expect a simple turning up of the graphics, if you will. The good stuff? The brand new stuff? That usually comes later.
Killzone: Shadow Fall does not follow that pattern. Guerrilla Games went back to the beginning, starting fresh with its first PS4 game. Sometimes a fresh start is the best thing.