The feeling of walking into a crowded ballroom with the intent of committing a murder and leaving without anyone being the wiser is something only the Hitman games have really achieved. Eavesdropping on conversations to learn about an evil dictator’s favorite food so you can poison the dish and leaving as he dies of food poisoning is a special kind of satisfying. Combining the better elements of previous entries in the series, Hitman presents all of these scenarios in a very open-ended fashion in some very elaborate and detailed environments. Even if the episodic release schedule does cut a lot of the fun short right when it gets going.
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EA UFC 2 is one of the most realistic UFC games since THQ reinvigorated the MMA genre with UFC Undisputed back in 2009, and I'm still not sure if that's good or bad. On one hand I have to plan out each fight as if I were mapping out strategies for a real MMA fight — which will never happen in a million years — and that requires thought and quick decisions on when to strike and when to try a takedown. On the other hand I'm really bad at planning for MMA, preferring to just punch and kick the crap out of an opponent as opposed to clinching or going to the ground, and that approach gets me beaten up a lot.
The kind of headphones you use for music offer a bit of insight into your tastes. You might be content just to use the little buds provided with your phone, as they're fairly perfunctory but work just fine. Then again, you might want a more personal space with your music, and may have invested in a better set of headphones that sonically immerse you in your own world. The same could be said of gaming headsets, which have exploded these past few years as online gaming, eSports, and streaming have become more commonplace. Some players might be fine with the default headsets packed in with their consoles, but others will want a more specific bit of gear tailored to their exact needs. The Corsair VOID Surround falls between the basic and high-end experiences, offering a comfortable set of over-ear headphones with sound quality that puts the budget earpieces to shame. Though it doesn't have quite as much depth or range as some ultra premium competitors, Corsair's latest headset does do everything they can do nearly as well at a fraction of the price.
Far Cry Primal takes place in 10,000 BCE, thousands of years before modern music was even conceived, but I still expected Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to come bursting on during the mammoth hunting intro in true Far Cry fashion. Licensed music aside, Far Cry Primal is still very much a Far Cry game. Taking over outposts and enemy camps, finding bonfires to uncover more of the map and gathering crafting items, it’s all here. Far Cry Primal seeks to put you in the shoes, or rather, hunting furs of a primitive human trying to survive and secure a place for his people, but it seems to get in its own way at the worst times.
SUPERHOT is a title that tells you very little about what you’re getting into. The description just barely gleans it. It’s a first-person shooter where time moves only when you move. The art style exposes only minimalistic qualities. None of it seems like pieces that could come together to form a coherent and full game, so it was hard to expect much going in. However, as the game played out, inviting us in and expanding, SUPERHOT quickly became something more than a funny name and a quirky mechanic. SUPERHOT is actually an impressive and interesting puzzle where the solution just happens to be shooting strange red enemies.
Life after the flood isn't easy, and The Flame in the Flood reminds you of that at every turn. With nothing but your loyal dog and a keen sense of crafting, you'll have to survive as long as you can if you hope to learn what happened to the world before the flood. The Flame in the Flood is a challenging survival game, but one that eases you into its world and mechanics well, allowing you to learn from your experiences without getting frustrated too early on. The longer you play, the more adept you get, and the more satisfying it is to make it down river. It's also that much more crushing to lose everything to those damned wolves.
Hearing that Telltale Games would be exploring Michonne's past in depth for the first time was exciting. Hints and small bits of her history have been dribbled out slowly in The Walking Dead comics, but the driving forces of Michonne's life have never really been dealt with the way they have with other characters. Though some new ground is tread, the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne doesn't bring much we didn't already know to the front. What's more, it spends so much time introducing new characters, there's hardly any time for Michonne to show off.
As the fifth proper entry in one of gaming's biggest franchises, Street Fighter V had a lot to live up to. Street Fighter I & II helped create the genre of fighting games, and Street Fighter III & IV helped to revitalize them. To live up to its predecessors Street Fighter V needed to be electrifying, and since it came from a huge, triple-A video game company, it should offer an experience both massive in content and potential. What we got instead was the digital embodiment of greed.
Plants vs. Zombies made the jump from an immensely popular tower defense game on mobile platforms to a colorful class-based third-person shooter last year. The first Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was a lighthearted and unique blend of the classes and tower defense mechanics of the original and traditional team-based multiplayer shooter mechanics. Garden Warfare was content with being a fun shooter that had some depth in its character and class customization. So the question remains, how does Garden Warfare 2 improve on the original’s mechanics and gameplay? In short, it doesn’t.
When a game takes aim at some of the heaviest of emotional torments, it’s always a tricky scenario on whether these matters will hit or miss. Insanity, depression, obsession, and fear can take on a myriad of forms within in a game, but proper conveyance in order to draw the player in and make these tones worth exploring is another task altogether. Layers of Fear is the kind of game that opens itself just enough to make players curious to see the whole picture. It teases clues to drive the player deeper and deeper into unraveling its disturbing mystery and despite its utterly macabre feel, it does a good job of getting us to see what new and dreadful thing was behind the next door.