Capcom is churning out DLC for Dead Rising 3, and so far, it's struck out. The first DLC had a major problem offering up an uninteresting character and scenario, while the second gave us a better character, but an equally dis...
The original Rambo is more than just a guilty pleasure for action enthusiasts. While the latter two in the trilogy are arguably just popcorn flicks in terms of their overall impact on the industry as a whole, the first movie, appropriately titled First Blood, was a legitimately good film.
It dealt with the very real troubles of soldiers returning from war to adjust to normal life, in this case, specifically targeting the Vietnam War. Although Rambo is often regarded as a cold-blooded killer, he only actually kills one person in First Blood -- by accident. Eventually, the series would get progressively more ridiculous and further removed from the original's message, culminating in a mess of an experience called Rambo: The Video Game.
Plants vs. Zombies has been on one wild ride since PopCap was acquired by Electronic Arts. What started off as a grassroots (hah) series with humble beginnings on the PC has become an exclusive-heavy franchise -- with Plants vs. Zombies 2 originally launching on iOS, and Garden Warfare launching on Xbox platforms and the PC.
In many ways EA has hurt the overall image of PopCap, but there are some benefits to being owned by a major publisher. Most notably, an in-house engine ripe for the taking, and the resources to create one of the most oddball third-person shooters ever made. While it's not everything it could be, Garden Warfare is most definitely a successful experiment.
Steel Diver kind of came and went in 2011 on the 3DS. As a brand new IP for Nintendo it was a gamble, and one that seemingly didn't pay off with critics or fans. But they're back in 2014 with a free-to-play version titled Sub Wars, which is relatively new monetary venture for the tried-and-true gaming giant.
While they've nailed the "free" part, I'm not sure Steel Diver was the right franchise for the job.
The original Thief was one of my favorite PC games of all time. It was unique in that it completely focused on stealth -- a mechanic that wasn't used often at the time outside of a few select games like the original Metal Gear.
It not only encouraged you to stay in the shadows, but stay silent as well, incorporating elements of sound into the core gameplay. It was stunning, to say the least. The new Thief manages to takes bits and pieces from the original franchise, but it isn't nearly as memorable.
The Tales series often doesn't get the same recognition as big-name JRPGs like Final Fantasy, and that's a shame. It's a consistently quality franchise that has been delivering year after year, but one of the problems with it is that some of the titles are a bit harder to find.
Whereas Square releases port after port of Final Fantasy, making it easier to acquire older games, Namco doesn't tend to re-release Tales games often in the West, leaving them a little harder to track down on older consoles. Thankfully they've wised up for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, which delivers one of the best games in the entire series on PS3.
When I was a young kid, I loved nothing more than playing classic sport video games like Bases Loaded, Blades of Steel, Double Dribble, Tecmo Bowl, and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!. While I enjoyed the likes of Super Mario Bros. and Zelda, hitting a game winning homerun was inherently more rewarding than sticking a silver arrow in Gannon's forehead ever was.
As I pushed through my junior high school years though, my tastes in games began to change. It was in these years that I was introduced to my deepest of video game loves: the Japanese RPG. Chrono Trigger and Lunar: The Silver Star opened my eyes to a much deeper world; a world where story was just as important as gameplay, and more importantly, could actually have meaning.
Nowadays, I find myself satisfied having quick flings with any action game that I can finish in a weekend. I still love RPGs and sports games, but the commitment to fully enjoy them is more than I can usually spare. If only there was a way I could enjoy both genres simultaneously; a way to go back to the days where time was in abundance.
Inazuma Eleven is the time machine I’ve been looking for.
Level-5's Guild series started out as a bizarre anthology of pint-sized experiences from industry veterans. Initially released in Japan during the spring of 2012, the package would come to western shores later that year. Well, sort of. It was dismantled, shipped across the ocean, and sold piecemeal via the Nintendo eShop.
One by one, the games trickled onto the handheld's online store -- with one notable exception. Weapon Shop de Omasse was oddly absent. For more than a year the final piece of the puzzle remained on the back burner, that is, until now. Better late than never.
In 2009, American and European Xbox 360 players got their first taste of the popular Earth Defense Force PS2 series from Japan with the game's third entry, 2017, by developer Sandlot. The cult classic budget title featured frantic arcade action, but was marred by terrible voice acting, low-quality graphics, and massive slowdown when multiple enemies were on-screen. Still, it managed to garner a fan following, as few could deny how fun the game was.
Two years later, Vicious Cycle took over development of the sequel, Insect Armageddon. This version retained the overall feel of the previous title, but improved the graphics and added online support, as well as multiple armor classes. While a technically better title, it separated itself from the previous game by focusing on being more of a squad-based shooter.
Now, the bugs are back, and with them original series developer Sandlot. Taking notes from what worked best in both of the previous entries, and retaining the heart of what made the series such a cult hit was a tall, mech-sized order. Thankfully, like members of the EDF themselves, it looks as though they were more than up to the task.
I was very skeptical when the Strider franchise was handed over to Double Helix. This was before we found out that Killer Instinct was actually a decent game, when the studio was allowed to spread its wings with something other than a movie license title.
Two playthroughs later, and I'm a believer. If Strider is any indication, I really think Double Helix has a bright future ahead of it.
Donkey Kong Country Returns was one of my favorite platformers of the last generation. It had charm, challenge, and most importantly -- it was a ton of fun. But one of my only hang-ups with the Wii version was the lack of control options, and the forced implementation of Wiimote controls.
With that out of the way compliments of a host of controller choices and many more improvements, Tropical Freeze is somehow even better than Returns.
Beat-’em-ups are quite the strange genre to me. I grew playing many of them: Simpsons, X-Men, and Turtles in Time in the arcades were my jam. In fact, I’d say they are still my jam. That said, it’s easy to recognize their faults, which are really faults of the genre as a whole, even if those faults seem to melt away when playing with some buddies. Lining up attacks can be a chore and they’re generally painfully simplistic when it comes to actual gameplay.
Double Dragon: Neon is a carefully crafted love-letter to a genre and a time period. It is an '80s beat-'em-up through and through, but with one caveat: it has some of the best gameplay to ever grace the genre.
You don't have to ask me twice to get back into the world of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, given that the game swept pretty much every award you could earn in 2013. I'm happy to accept the invitation into its super freaky post-apocalyptic world, especially when that return comes with a healthy dose of backstory. For me, it's the storytelling that makes Naughty Dog's games so enjoyable.
Some games come out of nowhere. Such is the case with AeternoBlade, a 2D action platformer from Corecell Technology -- a relatively unknown eastern developer. It was hit with a few delays in the west, but now, it has a solid release date, and it's finally ready to hit the 3DS eShop.
Even though it doesn't really reach for the stars and looks decidedly dated, it's a decent way for any Metroidvania fan to spend their time.
It's the early 21st century and humanity is embroiled in a bitter war with an alien race hellbent on stemming mankind's advance into outer space. You are a mech pilot. You pilot a war machine that's enormous and powerful. Aliens shoot at you, and you are probably going to need to dodge some bullets and shoot back.
It's an age-old story, one that's probably not going to win many accolades, and that's okay. Sometimes it's just fun to bomb around a distant planet and blow up everything in sight.
Although I had an amazing time with Dead Rising 3, the first DLC offering left a sour taste in my mouth. It was a generic add-on that encapsulated some of our worst fears when we saw the initial footage of the game, and playable soldier Adam Kane was one of the worst characters the franchise had to offer.
Thankfully, the second time around is a slight improvement on the broken formula, even if it's not quite there yet.
One Piece is a fantastic anime. It follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his charismatic Straw Hat Pirate crew as they search for the "One Piece" -- the most valued treasure in the entire land. They're over 600 episodes in and they still haven't found it, but it's an entertaining journey all the same.
Sadly, One Piece: Romance Dawn isn't a great reflection of the show, mostly due to a lazy presentation.
The basic idea here is largely the same: for a few dollars you get one new area, two new missions, an easter egg or two, and new cosmetic customization options for your preferred Vault Hunter. Among those constants throughout the Headhunter series, the most notable variables in play are the choice of which characters to focus on and the dialogue and interactions resulting from that choice. For Wedding Day Massacre, Gearbox chose wisely.
Finally! The story of Final Fantasy XIII is finally final with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy. But this closing act turns the trilogy on its head with brand new play mechanics and a game structure that is unlike anything seen in the previous titles. Lightning herself may be (mostly) the same, but everything else is quite different.
Adventure games enable developers to guide their audience on an incredibly focused journey. Completely scripted -- with little variation or user input that impacts the outcome -- they rely on the quality of their storytelling first and foremost. Gameplay is often used only to aid the method in which their madness is presented.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is an adventure game where madness excels. It’s a world where fear lurks around every corner and despondence has crept in; its narrative is full of uncertainty, mystery, and sadistic intent. Yet, its gameplay creates more than just a fly on the wall feeling -- even if you are living someone else’s story -- and is a must play for any fan of the genre or those who love a good "whodunit."
My life's earnings are stashed away in my vault. Well, half of it. As an added security measure, I've given my wife half to hold on to and protect with her life. I've built my house in such a way that I feel pretty confident that my belongings are safe. At the very least, my wife and kids will be safe behind the protection of my pit bull, Tiny.
I come back later in the day to find that a few vagabonds tried, and failed, to steal my money. Their loss, my gain. They died, I thrived. I come back the next day and find that my walls have been sawed through, and my money stolen. I check on Tiny: drugged. My family? All dead, no, murdered. I have nothing left. I check the security tapes, though I'm not really sure why. I don't care for revenge, though I can't say the thought is absent in my mind. Standing in what's left of my house, I take it all in and kill myself.
Right click. Left click. Right click. Left click. The old one-two. Jab and then...jab again. Or are they hooks? I can't tell in first-person. Regardless, I was wandering around the spaceship, punching aimlessly, until I heard, "Buon pomeriggio, Bishop."
The voice was warm. It came from a handsome man with whom I engaged in conversation, learning a little bit more about the ship I was dumped in. I stopped punching.
Consortium has guns and it has first-person punching, but it's a talkie. Following in the vein of Deus Ex, System Shock, and the non-shooty bits of Mass Effect, you're tossed aboard a ship and things start to go awry. You have to find out why. Or not, I guess.
Describing Jazzpunk is pretty damn hard. It's billed as a "comedy adventure game," but it's so much more (and sometimes less) than that. It's packed full of references, oddball minigames, and voicework that will make you laugh more often than not.
For those reasons alone, it's not going to be for everyone. Unless you really like the idea of squirting a can of Cheez Whiz on Jim Sterling.
It's difficult to have a unique idea in a genre that's as over-saturated as 'first-person shooter' is. With Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield already out there year after year, making a multiplayer game enticing while offering something fresh and unseen is becoming harder and harder for developers to accomplish.
The makers of Rekoil: Liberator are proof of that.
Bigby the Wolf has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's just stumbled upon two murders, everyone is judging him based on his past, and all of it is starting to take its toll. In the second episode of Wolf Among Us, Telltale does an amazing job of unloading some of that burden off to the player.
Whereas Faith showed us Bigby from afar, we've now become him in Smoke and Mirrors. This is going to be one wild ride that even Toad might not be able to handle.
Laika was a female Soviet dog, and the first mutt in space and to orbit the Earth. Laika was never intended to return. She died during her orbit, and her remains burnt up as the Sputnik 2 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated.
Fable and I have a history together. Ever since I learned of its existence in an official Xbox Magazine under the codename "Project Ego," I was enthralled by the promises of Peter Molyneux. Back then, he basically could do no wrong, creating masterpiece after masterpiece at Bullfrog Productions.
But in 1997 he left and founded Lionhead Studios, eventually crafting the very first game in the Fable franchise. The first entry didn't really follow up with any of the promises Molyneux made, but despite that fact, it ended up being a serviceable little action-adventure romp.
Not much has changed with the updated Fable Anniversary, for better or for worse.
With the amount of role-playing adventures I’ve journeyed through in my life that culminate in apocalyptic showdowns, I’m a little tired. Save the world, rinse, and repeat. It’s so rare that a Japanese RPG deviates from this path. Perhaps it is why I mostly enjoyed last year’s critically panned Time and Eternity. The game was a mess -- both in gameplay and with its unnecessarily perverted sidekick -- yet amidst its troubles I found its overall theme refreshing.
We live in a world full of problems: some big and some small. And while they may all not be the most altruistic, it doesn't change the fact they still may be important or, at the very least, interesting subject matter to us. This is what Time and Eternity excelled at, and it’s something Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God does even better.
Bullfrog's 1997 strategy game Dungeon Keeper is a bona fide classic. It took the typical simulation conventions of the time and added some attitude, some horns, and a whole lot of charm to warp it into something truly special.
Leave it to EA then to come in and take a demonic dump on the franchise by creating a freemium "re-imagining" with timers and microtransactions.
An interesting exercise in game design is to identify assumptions about the genre or medium in general, then question those assumptions. One such assumption that most make is that control should feel natural and unobtrusive as the player's interface with the game. Octodad: Dadliest Catch challenges that idea, making awkward control central to the gameplay.
While the tasks in Octodad would be mundane in almost any other setting with a typical control scheme, they can be challenging or thought-provoking to an octopus dressed up as a human. By requiring a certain amount of care and effort, things like mowing the lawn or visiting the grocery store are made fun, though they can dip into the realm of frustration at times.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the most disappointing games in the series' history. Although I didn't dislike it as much as Jim did, there's certainly something missing that made past games in the franchise appealing, and it's not just because the formula is getting stale.
The campaign was a bore, multiplayer didn't really bring much to the table, and worst of all, the highly anticipated "Extinction" mode was grossly underutilized. While the new map pack doesn't fundamentally fix the core problems of Ghosts, it does make it a little more interesting as a whole.
I'm not sure when it happened, but we've now fully moved away from the type of Japanese role-playing game we loved for three or four console generations.
What happened? Did we change? Did we stop liking this kind of game? Maybe we can blame that stretch of nearly-constant complaints of tired tropes and linear storylines there toward the end of it all. Maybe game makers just got tired of making these kinds of games.
Now we have RPGs that seem to go out of their way to avoid anything that would remind us of these games we used to love. But what's funny to me is that the more they seem to try to innovate, the less gamers seem to like them.
Me? I never became tired of what we would call an old-school RPG. In fact, I've been waiting for someone to make another.
Bravely Default is exactly that: an old-school RPG.
Ouya users have not had a lot to be excited about for a while now. Excepting a few titles like Towerfall, there is not much worth owning on the microconsole, and especially few games that are not available elsewhere. As one of the more hyped titles, Airtight Games' Soul Fjord was looking like it could be a good reason to own an Ouya.
The elevator pitch is great. Soul Fjord is a rhythm-based, hack-and-slash roguelike with a truly unique setting that crosses 1970s funk and 13th Century Norse mythology. Protagonist Magnus Jones has to fight for his right to party after being denied access to Valhalla. Unfortunately, unlike Jones's expertly coiffed afro, Soul Fjord falls flat in its execution.
Dead Rising 3 was a very welcome surprise. It was not only my favorite launch game between the Xbox One and PS4, but it was a killer co-op experience, and had a lot more personality than I thought it would based on early trailers.
Leave it to DLC to not only take out multiplayer, but jettison some of that personality as well.
The game formerly known as "Double Fine Adventure" has finally made its debut -- or should I say, half-debut. Broken Age: Act 1 is the culmination of almost 100,000 backers, over 3.5 million dollars, and nearly two years of waiting. The project, once asking for a mere $400,000, broke Kickstarter history and subsequently forged high expectations for Tim Schafer and his team.
Broken Age follows the lives of Shay and Vella, two young teenagers yearning to escape from their predestined paths. Although the description sounds coming-of-age generic, the stories and puzzles are anything but. Broken Age follows its point-and-click adventure predecessors while forging its own path -- and what a compelling path it is.
I was always a fan of skateboarding games. From Skate or Die to the Tony Hawk series, and most everything in between, I've played and enjoyed my fair share, some more than others. And while the heyday has passed, I still occasionally break out the old titles just to see if I can still rack up the high scores and complete sick lines in a single run.
If you're like me, OlliOlli is just the game you've been waiting for.
I have no idea how to accurately describe Continue?9876543210 so I’ll just copy and paste this quote from the developer in here:
“Continue? is for the type of person that appreciates odd, poetic word play, interpretation of the abstract, and existential philosophy…Continue? is meant to be played when a person is quiet and alone and sitting in bed late at night with a glass of wine or some weed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about their life. “
In Two Brothers, game over isn't the end. Not even close.
Designed to look and play like a Game Boy title, this is an adventure in the vein of classics like Link's Awakening but with a truly bizarre world to call its own. It tells the story of scientist Roy Guarder, who dies alongside his wife in the opening moments only to be brought into what he believes is the afterlife. It's here that he sees wondrous new colors, the likes of which are indescribable to a scientific community he so desperately wants to convince.
Roy is mysteriously able to return from the heavens to his monochromatic world. The only problem is that no one -- well, almost no one -- will believe him. Not without proof. With the help of his brother, Roy sets out to find answers, collect evidence of color, and possibly bring back his beloved wife in a journey that will take him to faraway lands and beyond.
I don't have the best history with sound bars. I had this bigger JBL one that sounded nice, but it stopped working. Kaput. I tried to replace it with one of Sony's budget models, but that one sounded so bad that I laughed at it. And I returned it.
I ended up with a discounted Samsung model that you'd probably find on the shelves of any electronics store right now. I hate it. It sounds like someone popped one of my eardrums. The wireless subwoofer is neat, but it sounds like someone mumbling loudly in the next room. It's unplugged and now in one of my closets. Do you want it? You can have it.
Polk sent along one for us to test out. The Polk N1 Surroundbar is a gaming-focused product, and one of the first officially licensed Xbox One products. I wasn't sure about how a gaming-focused soundbar would hold up, but I was pleasantly surprised after spending some time with it.