Looking Glass’ original Thief games helped to define a generation of stealth titles. After an extended absence, Garrett returns in a new iteration from Eidos Montreal. Thief’s primary gameplay motives should be pretty clear from the title alone, but it suffers from a severe lack of focus. Instead of centering on the tools of Garrett’s trade, Thief tries too hard to be something it’s not, which ultimately breaks the one thing it does well. [Read more...]
The new Strider reboot from developer Double Helix is probably the best Metroid-style game since Shadow Complex, but that’s not saying much since there haven’t really been any Metroid-style games since Shadow Complex. While Strider may echo the design philosophies of that game style, it struggles to ever achieve any of the highs of a Metroid or Castlevania game. But hey, it’s a nice distraction until Nintendo’s next Metroid game, whenever that may be. [Read more...]
2013 was defined by a number of great games, my favorites oftentimes consisting of ones with a unique vision. But before we get to those…
Telltale struck gold with the critical and commercial success of The Walking Dead last year. Now they’ve decided to bring a different comic book series to the adventure game genre with The Wolf Among Us. The first episode covers a lot of ground very quickly. It acts like a pilot episode of a serialized television show, establishing a complex world and characters with around two hours of content. It’s messy, but that doesn’t hinder the impact of its narrative. [Read more...]
It’s a little difficult to understate the importance of 2010′s Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was responsible for a resurgence of interest in gaming’s horror genre (which had been a bit on the wane for the past half-decade), taking some of the core tenets of horror games to their logical extremes. Removing any sort of combat, The Dark Descent was a series of terrifying stealth sequences where the very process of hiding itself would wreak havoc on your sanity. The Dark Descent lost itself a bit in its last third where it relies too heavily on mediocre puzzles, but it stands as a highly influential title, one still largely used as a blueprint for many horror games today.
Everyone has their favorite stealth franchise — for some it’s Metal Gear, others it’s Deus Ex. While I like those games quite a bit, nothing scratches that stealth itch quite like Splinter Cell. Conviction was something of a reboot for the series, taking away certain features like hiding bodies and night vision, but also allowing for a more streamlined and snappier action game. Splinter Cell: Blacklist represents a return to form for fans of the PS2 era games, and a refinement of ideas and mechanics from Conviction. [Read more...]
The thing I found most immediately interesting about Gone Home was the quaint banality of its setting. This isn’t meant as an insult, but as an observation about the industry at large; how many games are out there that don’t take place in either an abstract/heightened version of reality, or exist snugly in genre trappings? I didn’t realize how badly I’ve wanted to play something like Gone Home until I was right in the middle of it. Gone Home doesn’t just tell an engrossing narrative unique to the medium (although it certainly does that); it does it in an unorthodox fashion that feels like the culmination of this generation of games.
Remember Me is the kind of game that should be desperately trying to please you. It’s an Uncharted-style adventure-platformer with stylish, combo-driven, character action combat. There are a handful of “run away from the camera while the ground crumbles beneath you” segments. It’s about 6-8 hours long on average. It is the very definition of a linear, guided, cinematic experience.
And yet, around every corner, Remember Me doesn’t really seem to give a shit about what you think. [Read more...]
If there ever were a game worthy of the “diamond in the rough” moniker, it’d be Metro 2033. Based off the Russian novel of the same name, 2033 debuted back in 2010 seemingly out of the blue, but quickly turned into a bit of a cult-favorite. Caught off guard at the game’s success, Metro: Last Light has clearly been given a good deal more in the way of funding and support from THQ (and eventually Koch Media), and it shows. Metro: Last Light is a good follow-up to 2033, but it definitely feels changed in ways that aren’t always to its benefit.
Let’s say that the first Dead Island was a survivor of a zombie apocalypse. He wasn’t the ideal survivor, but he had his quirks. You may not have wanted to stay around him for too long, so after you worked together for about 15-20 hours you left to go find your friend named Skyrim. Two years after leaving him, you decide to go back and find Dead Island, but all that is left of him is a shambling corpse that goes by Riptide. [Read more...]