Narrative-heavy games always have a particular set of challenges to overcome to bridge a gap that makes them worth a player’s time. The story has to be good enough to carry a lack of actual gameplay elements without overdoing it and collapsing upon itself. Furthermore, the gameplay elements that are present have to be meaningful and interesting enough to maintain engagement without weighing down the story in something too meddlesome or extraneous. For Zero Escape, a series that has previously seemed to delight in the convoluted, balancing story and gameplay has been hit or miss. Thankfully, the third game in the series, Zero Time Dilemma, is adventure full of disturbing and compelling twists and turns with gameplay make it interesting and inviting, even if you haven’t followed the series from the very beginning.
Umbrella Corps is a mess from concept to execution. The fan service in the game is surface level to the point where you’d really have to try to care about anything going on. The shooting mechanics are a dizzying array of ideas competing against each other and falling head over heels in a frustrating mess in the process. This game seems like one last ditch attempt to cash in on the story lines and styles that have been established so far, but none of it is worked or smoothed out to make something cohesive. The only thing it really succeeds in is convincing us Umbrella is the worst and most incompetent company anyone could ever have the misfortune of working for.
Kirby: Planet Robobot was a blast from start to finish. The platforming, combat and level design are better than they’ve ever been in a Kirby game. The new Robobot Armor is fun to use, especially with all of the enemy abilities, though it does have some disappointing limitations. Coupled with the great use of the 3D environments on a 2D plane, Kirby: Planet Robobot has become my favorite Kirby game.
After several years, delays, and missteps, the Kickstarter-funded Mighty No. 9 is here, and believe me when I say that the supposed spiritual successor to Mega Man is a Mega Bust.
Destruction is fun. A few years ago, we were remodeling the upstairs bathroom and I spent a few hours with a sledgehammer busting wall tiles and tearing a ceiling down. It was cathartic and wonderful. Games do a good job of replicating this same sense of satisfaction whether it’s launching a rocket launcher at a pile of cop cars in Grand Theft Auto or deconstructing every piece of a building in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Destruction is a fun time. Dangerous Golf should be, but it isn’t.
Though there are a few wrinkles in the fabric of Blood and Wine, it delivers a final chapter unlike any you’ve seen before.
Guilty Gear Xrd is continuing to stand out as the game that deserves to bask in the spotlight. -Revelator- doesn’t reinvent the wheel the way -Sign- did, but it does add a significant amount of content and gloss to what was already awesome.
Eight years is an eternity in video games, and perhaps that's why it feels like it's been longer than that since the first time we booted up Mirror's Edge. The ambitious first-person parkour experience was one of two games that defined EA's 2008 --- the other being Dead Space --- and while that survival horror franchise went on to spawn two sequels proper (and a rail shooter), a potential follow-up to Mirror's Edge has languished in development forever. It almost seemed like we would never see Faith again, but then DICE surprised the gaming world by announcing a follow-up (technically a remake) for a new generation. Now, Mirror's Edge Catalyst is here with nearly a decade of hype and hope to live up to. While it doesn't quite shatter the mold, Catalyst is a welcome return to a once-forgotten world championed by a dedicated few.
Hitman is shaping up to be the hit that no one saw coming. Despite the controversial decision to break the game into an episodic format, especially so close to its release, the format has served it well. If even just the few maps that have been released so far were released all at once, it would feel overwhelming. The time in between each batch of content is ample for digging into each of the incredibly dense environments and explore all of their nooks and crannies. Case in point, Marrakesh, the latest expansion for Hitman. This map is easily the most detailed and tightly packed so far.
Not only did Vanillaware and Atlus give Odin Sphere a visual retuning, but they practically rebuilt the whole system. The result is a streamlined, flashy and refined retread that outdoes the original in ways that make this remake seem like an entirely different and better game by comparison.