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.
Lara Croft's return to form in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot was very well done, but it lacked a few key features that made the franchise as legendary as it is today. Her followup adventure, Rise of the Tomb Raider, tries to bring those elements back and infuse them with the upgrades already in place. The result is a fun return to classic Tomb Raider form that takes a big leap but can't stick the landing.
War never changes, but the console and gaming landscape has dramatically over the last seven years. In the time since Fallout 3's release, open-world games have evolved quite a bit thanks to that game's success. New platforms have also emerged, giving developers the resources to make larger, more detailed worlds for players to explore, while adding in the additional graphical benefits new hardware provides. While the rest of the world was moving on at an incredible pace, Bethesda was taking its time with Fallout 4. A proper fourth entry in the series needed to be bigger and better than before, but the wait was excruciating for fans. Though the franchise hasn't come quite as far in the last seven years as we'd hoped, but Fallout 4 is still an impressive piece of work that's not to be missed.
Simply titled Need for Speed, this racer marks the franchise's first current-gen exclusive, finally focusing on getting the most it can from modern consoles without having to worry about including last-gen tech. Fortunately, this helps NFS look absolutely gorgeous, which ultimately matters when you factor in the underwhelming graphics of Gran Turismo 6 compared to the fine polish of Forza Motorsport 6. Utilizing the full extent of the current-gen hardware, Need for Speed revs up into a promising experience that is all about underground and urban street racing, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee a smooth ride.
The Halo series has long been the benchmark by which all other Xbox games are judged. There have been some stumbles in the great lineage of Master Chief as of late, in particular last year's Master Chief Collection falling prey to launch woes that would have crippled any chance for success a true sequel could have had. Now one year later, 343 Industries has returned with the first true Xbox One Halo game, Halo 5. There are a lot of new aspects 343's thrown on top of the existing architecture that's become so familiar to fans over the past decade plus, and most of them work quite well to help bring the Halo franchise into a new generation. There just must be something about second entries in Master Chief's life.
I've often thought about what it would be like to actually take part in the Battle of Hoth. In The Empire Strikes Back, we saw only a glimpse of the chaos that ensued once the Imperial Army found the Rebel base on the icy planet, and didn't truly get an idea of the conflict that broke out. It makes sense considering the films follow such a small cast of characters, and can't just spend hours on showing the ins and outs of one space battle. That's why I was excited to dive head first the galactic civil war with Star Wars Battlefront later this year. At least, until I played a little bit of the beta this week at New York Comic Con. Now, don't take that to mean that I've lost all my interest. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm just not all that interested in living out the Battle of Hoth from the Rebel perspective anymore. While the films and comics and books have always talked about the strength and power of the Imperial side of the conflict, you don't truly grasp how daunting a task it must have been for the Rebel Alliance to pull out such tremendous victories until you're planted firmly in their boots. It's impressive that any of the ships escaping Hoth made it out of there alive, especially if any of those Rebel troopers fought as poorly as I did.
Five years after the last full retail release, Harmonix has returned with Rock Band 4. Like your favorite band that's been out of the studio for too long, Harmonix's return is a welcome one. Who better than the masters of the genre to bring back one of the most storied franchises of the last decade for another run at greatness? With new platforms and audiences to reach, the time seemed right for Rock Band to once again make a claim to the throne of the ultimate music franchise. Much of what makes up Rock Band 4 will be immediately familiar to longtime players, but that's not a bad thing. Rock Band 4 brings back feelings you didn't even know you were missing, and improves upon the formula just enough to make everything feel fresh and new, while being as comfortable as a pair of worn-in leather pants.
The music, a generic, 2001-esque rock tune, cuts in and out on the loading screen, then restarts entirely when the level starts to load. Objects pop into view haphazardly, and most textures only start to think about showing up for work. Your character is last to appear, an undetailed blob that vaguely resembles Tony Hawk; you feel a vague unease to go along with his blurred features. The objective: using your skateboarding skills, knock 25 giant balls out of a pool. There are actually 26 balls, but whatever. You struggle with the controls, flailing and flopping on maneuvers you swore you landed, all while the timer counts down with a corporate logo hanging heavy above it. You've nearly gotten all of the balls out when you jump. Tony goes ragdoll for no reason and launches twenty feet into the air in grotesque slow-motion until he tumbles down, into the ground, and jams there like a twitchy tombstone. The textures of his clothes and face finally load; his face is an expressionless, joyless mass with eyes more dead than Gravelord Nito.
Since Activision got a lot of heat due to the last-gen versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 not having a campaign mode, they went and released a story trailer.
Bethesda has released its fourth educational cartoon featuring Vault Boy, teaching you how important Charisma is out in the wasteland while playing Fallout 4.