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...]
I’ve never been much of a drinker. I mean, I’ve had a beer or two on occasion, but I’ve never really been in one of those situations where I just compulsively need a drink. I started playing Star Trek and was having a pretty alright time with its subpar co-op, third-person shooter action. Then Kirk uttered a line about how he was frustrated with the number of locked doors along their path. It was meant to be a quip, delivered by the dashing action hero and used to lighten the mood in a desperate situation. But this line only frustrated me. I hate it when characters call out flaws in a game’s design in an effort to brush them off; it’s as if the designer knows the game is terrible, and wants to joke about it with the player. I had a pack of PBR sitting untouched in my fridge for a pretty long time. It’s no longer there. All that’s left are a few crushed cans and a crumpled up cardboard box sitting in the corner next to my trash can. [Read more...]
In another life, things would probably be different. In another life, we might be somewhere else, someone else. But we’re forced to live with the hand we’re dealt, and there’s no changing that. Or is there? It’s hard for Bioshock Infinite to cast itself away from the shadow of its predecessor, mostly because of how strong the narrative of the original Bioshock was in its day. Bioshock Infinite quickly relinquishes itself from the shackles of just “going through the motions” and carves out a unique place all its own. [Read more...]
I played through The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct in one sitting. It wasn’t because I was having fun with the game, or because I had a large amount of free time I could devote to it. I played it through in one sitting because it was incredibly boring, incredibly short, and I wanted all of it to end as soon as possible.
Following up a critically acclaimed game can be tough. It can be even tougher when it’s considered one of the best games on its system. So what are some ways to make a successful prequel to an entire series that has grown with each installment? The answer does not lie within Sony Santa Monica’s God of War Ascension.
The Lara Croft of old was a snarky, athletic, rich girl, toting two pistols and clothing that any legitimate archeologist would chortle at if they saw. But the rebooted Tomb Raider’s Lara isn’t that kind of Croft; she’s a frightened, inexperienced, young adventurer thrown into a situation where she must fight if she has any chance of surviving. Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise is a high-stakes adventure that develops a character from innocence to murder – in a very abrupt and disjointed way – and creates a platform for further Lara Croft adventures.
The original Dead Space was a tense, atmospheric horror game set aboard a mining vessel in the vacuum of space. It was frightening, stressful, and creative, but certainly not without fault. Two years later, Dead Space 2 took what made the first game great and expanded upon that formula by refining the combat and crafting a greater sense of tension from its atmosphere, lighting, and sound design. Dead Space 3 is little more than just another Dead Space game, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. [Read more...]
Few nostalgic things can be recalled without hyperbole, but I doubt many would dispute the importance of the 16-bit JRPG. Those were the halcyon days when game stories first really meant something. Games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI challenged our narrative expectations, while polishing a well-worn combat variant, dubbed Active Time Battle (ATB, for short). They’re considered by many to be some of the best games ever made, and not without reason. Since that era, JRPGs have been largely lacking in quality and inspiration. Level-5′s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch manages to blend old and new, rote and unique, into something largely successful. [Read more...]
Illustrious game designer Ron Gilbert has fascinated audiences with classic adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. He’s really the father of adventure games, and has been kicking around the idea for The Cave for a while now. However, frustrating design decisions and a myriad of technical bugs mars The Cave’s attempts to elicit old-school adventure game humor and style. [Read more...]