Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, the latest in a landmark strategy series that spans decades, is less a game of sweeping changes than it is minor tweaks—and that’s a good thing. Civ V, released a lifetime ago (in video game turns) back in 2010, was damn close to perfection and kept gamers—this one included—coming back for hundreds and hundreds of hours. Messing with that formula too much might have been a recipe for disaster. Instead, Firaxis kept what worked and enhanced everything along the way.
Namco-Bandai wanted to create a sequel which retained the core of what came before it, while expanding where necessary, and the result is a sequel which suffers from that most crippling of sequel problems... mediocrity.
While many other games would have petered off and sequeled up by now, World of Warcraft is a beast unlike any other, and has continued to evolve, changing, shifting, altering itself with each expansion pack until it barely resembles its original iteration. World of Warcraft: Legion brings a new transformation to WoW, making it into something smaller, sleeker; a creature far more befitting the modern gamer.
The Final Station challenges the player with scarcity and survival and weaves just enough context to make the world built around it interesting.
Telltale Games' fresh approach to the world of the Dark Knight makes the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series an mostly worthwhile escapade into the life of Bruce Wayne. Taking a radically different path from the likes of Rocksteady Studios in telling a Batman story not only gave some much needed perspective into the other half of Batman's life, but allowed Telltale to play to its strengths in narrative and dialogue. It's unfortunate then that the PC version of Batman: The Telltale Series is so marred by performance issues that it's a real drag to play, and a challenge to enjoy.
I’ve always been fascinated by strategy games. I’ve never been particularly good at them, enough to get by, but I’ve enjoyed my time with older titles like Command and Conquer, Starcraft, and Age of Empires II. Crush Your Enemies claims to harken back to the time when these games were more popular but misses the mark on many levels. There’s no base building, no expansive maps, and no real strategy from what I can see. In fact, it’s more of a barbarian themed puzzle game.
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.
In a world where media companies are too content to endlessly regurgitate their greatest hits, one company has stepped out from the shadows to bring forth something different, something original, something amazing. Overwatch, Blizzard's first new intellectual property in almost two decades, is here. Hell, it's about time.
The first two chapters of The Walking Dead: Michonne took some time getting to the core of what made this mini-series special. Both "In Too Deep" and "No Shelter" had some great introspective moments for Michonne, but the story points driving them along weren't nearly as compelling as what was unfolding in Michonne's head. With the final episode, all of the elements finally pull together to deliver a haunting, gut-wrenching conclusion that gives Michonne more depth, and will have you wondering if we get what we deserve or we deserve what we get.
When we talk about video games, there is and perhaps always will be a debate going on about the fun factor of a game and how that dictates the game’s worth. iNK Stories & N-Fusion Interactive’s 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is the kind of game that is likely to add fuel to that debate. In a world where racial, religious and political tensions are still unfortunately in the spotlight, 1979 chooses to observe the revolution that took place in Iran against the monarchy led by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The game has some slight technical flaws and pacing issues that work against its goal, but it is nonetheless a gripping snapshot of human hope, passion and cruelty from a personal perspective.