The Metal Gear series has been one of the premier franchises in gaming for nearly two decades, but it wasn’t always sitting on top of the industry. The late 1980s and early 1990s in particular were a confusing time for the budding franchise. One prime example of that was Snake’s Revenge, which arrived on United States shelves in 1990 today. The game wasn’t awful. In fact, it was quite a serviceable action title for the NES, but it’s somewhat shady production, combined with somewhat absurd publishing made for a game that would eventually drive Hideo Kojima to create a true sequel to the original Metal Gear.
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It seems like only yesterday that Bloodborne came out. Indeed, it’s actually only been a little bit over a year since its initial launch and its last DLC came in late November 2015. Nonetheless, here we are at Dark Souls III, and despite that alarmingly short timeframe, this game doesn’t feel rushed in the least. In fact, it feels like a culmination of all of From Software’s experience brought in at the highest level. However, where Dark Souls II felt like a continuation and natural evolution of the original Dark Souls, Dark Souls III feels more like an extension of Dark Souls II mixed with a few fresh lessons learned from Bloodborne to create a richer and more powerful overall experience.
We’ve all made mistakes and have regrets. For most of us, there’s nothing within our own power to go back and make things right. But what if we could? Dodge Roll poses and answers this question in the same breath with Enter the Gungeon’s end goal -- a gun that can kill the past. That’s just a little slice of the story though. Beyond that, nothing much is told to you up front. You’ll learn the rest of this twin-stick shooter’s history talking to NPCs, fighting enemies, and deciphering the fabled Ammonomicon.
If you combined the hack-slash-evade combat mechanics from Dark Souls and simplified, top-down style Hotline Miami, and threw them into a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, you'd have Hyper Light Drifter. While it does borrow from those games, and others in smaller ways, this game is still a unique experience. Hyper Light Drifter’s sound and visual design do a great a job of building a world that feels surprisingly alive for being so empty. Narratively there are hints of a much larger story than what’s presented but without an actual payoff, you’re left wandering through an interesting and beautiful world that never really makes much sense. That’s only where the frustration begins with Hyper Light Drifter however thanks to some questionable design choices.
Game makers have long tried to bridge the gap between Hollywood and gaming, hiring A-list (and sometimes not-so-A-list) talent to bring extra sales and legitimacy via their star power. Quantum Break is the newest title to combine Hollywood and the gaming world, creating an interesting hybrid of gaming and episodic storytelling. Quantum Break brought in strong, memorable actors such as Game of Thrones Aiden Gillen, Lost’s Dominic Managhan, and Lance Reddick, the spookyman from many cult classic shows. Quantum Break’s cast does a great job instilling the sci-fi thriller story with a real sense of legitimacy, but Hollywood actors don’t always do such a good job in video games. In fact, there are plenty of times where otherwise great actors just don’t seem to give a damn, dragging down the entire project with listless, weird performances. Those are the actors we’re here to talk about today— the good actors who step into the world of gaming and, for whatever reason, decide to leave their talent at the door.
Sometimes a game isn’t always known for being the best example of gameplay or creating the most nostalgic memories among players. Sometimes, the importance of a game lies in the change of times it signaled and the way it paved for others. By today’s standards, Trilobyte and Virgin Interactive’s classic PC horror adventure game, The 7th Guest, wouldn’t be winning any beauty pageants and its archaic gameplay would require the devoted patience of a nostalgic enthusiast. Still, when it originally launched in 1993, it would become a trendsetter in its establishment of what were then revolutionary new concepts.
Exploring the tragic and mysterious history of The Walking Dead's Michonne sounded like a great idea when Telltale Games announced its mini-series. Finally, we'd get to see things from the perspective of one of the comics' most intriguing and deadly characters. However, the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne was fairly rudimentary and didn't quite break narrative ground in the way we'd hoped it would. Still, with two episodes remaining, there was hope Telltale had something new to say in this world and about this character. The Walking Dead: Michonne's second episode, "Give No Shelter," manages to give a bit more insight into our protagonist's past and motivations, even if it still feels like we've been down this road before.
WrestleMania will rock the professional wrestling world this Sunday, pitting the biggest names in sports entertainment against each other in front of a predicted crowd of over 100,000 people. As I steel myself for what should be (emphasis on should) be an epic night of wrestling, I want to take a moment and honor some professional wrestlers who found their fame in another art form: video games.
Time is broken and the world is going to end. Though Jack Joyce didn't exactly put the entire human race at risk himself, his being complicit in Paul Serene's unsanctioned plan to test a very big time machine gives him a bit of cause in trying to put things right. Since Jack happens to be in the immediate vicinity of the time explosion, he finds himself able to stand outside of time and occasionally control it. This comes in handy since Monarch, the shady corporation funding Serene's ambitious plans, is on the scene immediately to capture Jack to cover up their own fault in the dire situation. It's almost as if they knew something horrible was going to happen on this day.
When it comes to the horror genre in the gaming industry, it’s become somewhat standard at this point that the biggest and best titles sell themselves in horrific gore and/or jump scares. Classic series like Resident Evil established a formula and more recent games like the widely praised Until Dawn and the Five Nights at Freddy’s series have carried the torch fueled by brutal monsters and intense in-your-face frights. Ape Law set out to buck against the trend with Albino Lullaby: a first-person experience that takes players on a psychological horror adventure without gore or jump scares. While Albino Lullaby’s first episode doesn’t quite succeed in keeping tension or fear all the time, it is nonetheless an engrossing and unique take on the horror genre.