Few games provide as liberating an experience as getting behind the wheel of an exotic car in Forza Horizon 3, tearing through the Australian outback, and chasing the pack in the hopes of being the first to cross that finish line.
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.
Platinum Games and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: a company and a property that should be a match made in heaven. Platinum has made a name for itself with fast paced, high adrenaline action games and Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo perfectly fit that mold being a fearsome fighting team and all. Why then, as I sit through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, does this marriage made in heaven bore the hell out of me?
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.
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.
Plants vs. Zombies made the jump from an immensely popular tower defense game on mobile platforms to a colorful class-based third-person shooter last year. The first Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was a lighthearted and unique blend of the classes and tower defense mechanics of the original and traditional team-based multiplayer shooter mechanics. Garden Warfare was content with being a fun shooter that had some depth in its character and class customization. So the question remains, how does Garden Warfare 2 improve on the original’s mechanics and gameplay? In short, it doesn’t.
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.
Fortified is the kind of game that I want to keep playing, but it frustrates me just as much as it entertains me. It does everything it can to stand between me and victory -- as a good game should -- but it does these things in way that's sloppy, unclear, and lacking direction. I want to say great things about Fortified, there's a lot to like here, but those compliments are bundled with a few legitimate concerns.