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.
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.
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.
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.