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.
8.5 out of 10 Review
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.
I had forgotten just how cool The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was as I was replaying the HD remake for this review. The original release being almost ten years ago as a launch title for Wii, it's been a long time since I journeyed through Hyrule as Twilight Princess presented it. I had forgotten how dark some of the scenes get, how completely badass Ganondorf is, and how much this story grips me from beginning to end. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD reminded me of all of it — just as a good remastering should — but this return to Hyrule isn't without its flaws.
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.
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.
Firewatch is a gorgeous game. There are breathtaking vistas around every corner, bubbling rivers flowing to crystalline lakes and sprawling meadows more verdant than any you've ever known. It's all realized with an eye that captures the majesty of the natural world, but exaggerated for effect by painting a landscape in the way a poet would sonnetize a moment in time. Being out in these Wyoming expanses is incredible, as everywhere you turn provides a different, stunning perspective of Campo Santo's vision of the world.
From that love comes a touching story packed into a beautiful setting with a delightful main character in Yarny. The care and devotion of the team at Coldwood to the craft of game development is more than evident at every turn. This game is not without its frustrations, particularly in puzzles toward the end of the game, but the brief fleeting moments of anxiety are easily countered by the overall warmth that Unravel exudes. This is a game I'll play when I'm having a bad day and want to turn it around.
While Marvel's had a tremendous amount of success at the box office over the last decade, the comic publisher has been relatively quiet on the video game front comparatively. There have been a few exceptions to the rule, but Marvel has been almost singularly focused on the mobile game arena. Over the last three years however, TT Games has managed to release two Marvel games under the Lego banner to sate fans hungry for Marvel action on a console. Though TT Games has been delivering licensed Lego video game adventures for over a decade, Lego Marvel's Avengers feels as fun and fresh as it has in years. It also gives Marvel fans a new spin on stories and characters they've spent a great deal of time with since The Avengers hit theaters in 2012.
The finale to Telltale's Game of Thrones first season has been a long time coming. For months, we've been lying in wait for the moment when the Forresters would be able to exact their revenge, and stake the true claim to Ironrath. It's been an tumultuous journey to get to this point, to be sure, but no one person's story in Game of Thrones ever goes quite the way it was envisioned. In the past year, we've done everything we could to try and make sure the Forresters didn't meet a horrible fate, and to ensure things worked out for the family struck with incredible tragedies. But we forgot one crucial thing--there are no happy endings in Westeros.
Activision's three-year cycle of development for the Call of Duty series continues with Treyarch's latest entry, Black Ops III. The former Tony Hawk Pro Skater studio known for Call of Duty: World at War are taking things to the future with their third Black Ops title. Continuing in the footsteps of Sledgehammer Games' release of Advanced Warfare last year, Black Ops III fully moves things even later into the future. Some of the more acrobatic moves and skills we saw in both Titanfall and Advanced Warfare are making a return here, which might underwhelm some fans hoping for a different experience.