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4:00 PM on 10.29.2014

Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.4)

I still can't believe Square Enix salvaged the original Final Fantasy XIV. I mean, it had the guts to make the game a core entry, so I'm glad the studio reworked it into A Realm Reborn -- this whole saga is just really i...

Chris Carter


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If Bungie envisions Destiny as an MMO, it should start acting like it photo
If Bungie envisions Destiny as an MMO, it should start acting like it
by Chris Carter

Destiny was a functional game at launch, but a number of design choices were made that left all of us scratching our heads. The Cryptarch system in 1.0 was horrible in that it allowed players to earn legendary engrams (randomized items) only to consistently find out they were rares.

There were bounties that were active for playlists that weren't even available to play. The list goes on -- these are things that Bungie possibly didn't have time to test as it was rushed out of the door by Activision to ship on time.

All of Destiny's patches so far haven't been actual improvements to the game -- they've been backpedaling "we didn't intend for this to happen" or "oops this was bugged" fixes. There have been no meaningful quality of life changes like an "Orbit to Tower" function, more bank space, a better user interface, or anything that would make the game more enjoyable.

Bungie needs to start making actual improvements to the game -- before the DLC in December and before people need to pay for it.

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Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD photo
Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD
by Alessandro Fillari

With the rise of high-definition re-releases, many fans have likely made a wish list of titles they hope will eventually get the HD treatment. Whether they be classics from the '90s or 2000s, we're seeing a variety of games find new life in today's market. Unfortunately, not every title can make that transition to modern consoles, be it for technical or design reasons.

Thankfully, Resident Evil is an exception. During a special hands-on session with the game, I experienced what it was like to return the mansion in full HD, and even got to speak with members of Capcom staff to learn about the challenges they faced with Remastered.

They certainly had their work cut out for them.

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Review: The Legend of Korra photo
Review: The Legend of Korra
by Chris Carter

One of the biggest surprises of 2014 had to be the announcement of a Legend of Korra game, published by Activision and developed by Platinum Games. Yes, that Platinum Games -- the current master of action titles.

It's only been a few months since the reveal of said Korra game, and already it's out on just about every platform imaginable outside of the Wii U. While the core result is indicative of Platinum's seal of quality, it feels rushed in many ways.

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Review: Samurai Warriors 4 photo
Review: Samurai Warriors 4
by Chris Carter

While the Dynasty Warriors series is often heralded as the pinnacle of Omega Force's hack-and-slash catalog, the lesser-known Samurai franchise has been churning out some of the best games in the stable.

Based around the Sengoku era of Japan, Samurai Warriors mixes things up with unique offerings like ninjas, samurai, and historical figures such as Goemon Ishikawa and Musashi Miyamoto. If you can get past the repetition, Samurai Warriors 4 delivers another hearty helping of action the developer is known for.

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Review: The Evil Within photo
Review: The Evil Within
by Chris Carter

I grew up happily playing Shinji Mikami's games, and he's probably one of the most influential directors/producers that ever lived. I remember the first time I played Resident Evil, the day I bought Devil May Cry from EB Games, and the exact moment when my friend showed me God Hand.

All in all Mikami has worked on over 20 major games that have impacted the industry in some way. Even if The Evil Within is one of the worst in the bunch, it's still in good company.

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Far Cry 4 features a more dynamic and vibrant open world photo
Far Cry 4 features a more dynamic and vibrant open world
by Alessandro Fillari

Back in 2012, Far Cry 3 turned out to be a surprise hit for Ubisoft. It became the bestselling title of the series, appearing on many game of the year lists, and also created a rather excellent spin-off title. But with the announcement of Far Cry 4 back in May, many fans were pretty psyched to have a new game exploring another exotic locale, but also surprised to see something come so quickly.

With the reveal and release happening within six months of one another, it all seems like it has been going too quickly, and we've never really had the opportunity to digest something substantial for the game. Thankfully, Ubisoft agreed and allowed some extended hands-on time with the upcoming open-world shooter. After experiencing some time with the game's open-world, I can say that November is certainly going to be interesting month with this title coming to market.

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Review: Skylanders: Trap Team photo
Review: Skylanders: Trap Team
by Chris Carter

Toys For Bob has found some rather interesting ways to evolve the Skylanders franchise. While the conceit the first time around was simply interactive toys, the developer mixed things up with giants on the second go, and with a mix-and-match concept (my personal favorite to date) after that.

Trap Team is the fourth iteration of the series, and the gimmick this time around involves tiny plastic pieces that essentially function as little Ghostbusters tools to ensnare enemies. While the core game is still as strong as ever, the trap mechanic isn't all that exciting.

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Review: Costume Quest 2 photo
Review: Costume Quest 2
by Alasdair Duncan

The original Costume Quest was a seminal game for Double Fine; it was the first game to come out of Amnesia Fortnight, a two-week period of experimenting with small-scale games. Costume Quest's success led the way for Stacking, Iron Brigade, and other download-only games. 

Now, Costume Quest 2 is here just a few weeks before Halloween and it's delivering the same fun as the original. It may be a little too similar in some spots, but there are plenty of improvements to satisfy fans.

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Review: Driveclub photo
Review: Driveclub
by Dale North

Driveclub was supposed to be a launch day title for the PS4, but it was delayed for a while, pushing back until now. We got our hands on it at the E3 following the PS4 announcement last year and thought it needed more time in the oven, so a delay was actually welcome.

But that was a long delay. So, how much of a difference has a year made? 

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Review: Natural Doctrine photo
Review: Natural Doctrine
by Kyle MacGregor

Natural Doctrine is a strategy role-playing game with a sadistic side. It's a brutal and uncompromising experience, one keen on taxing players and pushing them to their limits with its intense difficulty.

The architects behind the title invite comparisons with Dark Souls, and have certainly built a similarly steep hill to climb. Natural Doctrine is enigmatic and soul-crushing, but lacks execution and awareness. Simply being tough as nails doesn't make an experience rewarding.

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Paris will be the true star of Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Paris will be the true star of Assassin's Creed Unity
by Brett Makedonski

Modern-day Paris is vastly different than the city that served as the backdrop to one of the most famous uprisings in history: the French Revolution. Some of the greatest locales of the revolution are now gone -- either on the cusp of being forgotten by society, or repurposed altogether. The exact spot where the guillotine was used to behead Louis XVI can be pinpointed by going to Concorde Square and counting one, two, three lampposts in. The Bastille, the prison that was infamously stormed and destroyed is, well, destroyed. It’s been reduced to a scant few blocks next to a metro platform where commuters mostly ignore it. What was the residence of royalty now houses other treasures such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

Therein lies the challenge for developers of Assassin’s Creed games. How do they capture the mood and atmosphere of a city that’s so far historically removed from present time? The setting is always the star of Assassin’s Creed titles, no matter which installment in the franchise you’re playing. But, they have to tread carefully because a dull city makes for a dull game.

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Review: Alien: Isolation photo
Review: Alien: Isolation
by Chris Carter

From the old school "20th Century Fox" opening to the first few seconds, Alien: Isolation wants you to know that it takes after the first film from the series it was based on. One alien, one spaceship, one chance at survival.

This is the game we should have gotten from Gearbox.

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Review: Chariot photo
Review: Chariot
by Brett Makedonski

Local cooperative play is something that's been increasingly neglected in an age of videogames that pushes online connectivity seemingly first and foremost. It's ironic that titles like Destiny are the current benchmark for social experiences, when all communication is done through a headset. After all, it really doesn't get more personal than sitting next to someone on a couch and working (almost literally) hand-in-hand to achieve a goal.

Frima Studio hasn't forgotten these golden moments of yesteryear, and aims to recapture them with Chariot. The developers succeeded in their ambition. In fact, they pull it off so well, that you might find yourself short-changed when you don't have a partner in crime readily handy.

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Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor photo
Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
by Chris Carter

Developing a licensed game can be extremely difficult. Not only does Monolith Productions have the Lord of the Rings film series to honor with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, but the developer also has to work in many aspects of Tolkien's other works to weave together a story that calls from multiple sources.

In that regard Monolith has succeeded in creating something believable, but in the process, the game itself didn't receive as much attention.

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Review: NHL 15 photo
Review: NHL 15
by Brett Makedonski

With regard to sports games, the most important facet of any given title should always be the actual playing of the sport. That's how NHL 15 is. It mostly shines when you're on-ice, leading the charge through the neutral zone or lining up a bone-crushing hit on an unsuspecting forward. Damn EA for making me want to say this, but with NHL 15, when you're in the game, you're in the game.

But, if that's all that really matters, why's it impossible to overcome the feeling that its off-ice issues drag NHL 15 down like a player that just got viciously hooked from behind?

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