Average User Score: 7.7Jun 27, 2014Arkham Origins is a pile of stale crumbs shed from the delicious two-layer cake that was Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. At times it's so stagnant and overly derivative that it feels like a mix-tape of AA and AC on shuffle. It's built from the severed limbs of two very good games and there's nothing particularly wrong with more-of-the-same but it contributes nothing to the Arkham lineage. How enjoyable it is will be inversely proportional to your expectations.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.8May 30, 2014Watch Dogs is like an open-world arcade. The city is full of character, there's a ton of things to do in it, and those things are extremely fun. It may not have the depth of other action games (cars, weapons, etc) but the sandbox gameplay is fresh and very smart.
Multiplayer is well-integrated and non-intrusive. It's disappointing that there are multiplayer modes missing from last-gen, but if they were indeed unfit it may be better that players are spared the agony.
There are some performance issues on PS3 but nothing out of the ordinary. Occasionally the framerate will drop momentarily when there's a lot of spawning going on in free roam but it's not surprising considering how ambitiously active the environment is for a last-gen console. (This is regarding the digital download version.) There are also Ubisoft server hiccups, but that is hardly a new phenomenon.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6May 10, 2014I did not like this game but I still finished it (which seems to be relatively unusual). Aside from the difficulty Dark Souls is pretty average. Yes, it is good-looking and atmospheric with a large catalog of combat-related items to collect and manage but no new ground is broken here. The PVP system is an innovative idea but ubiquitous latency issues have essentially transformed it into a griefing mechanic for invaders who like to exploit the laggy netcode.
The difficulty can indeed be refreshing but reaches diminishing returns when deaths that have little learning value start to pile up. These include, but are not limited to, frumpy hit boxes, oddly-clipping cameras, misinterpreted lock-ons and other things that are basically normal in an RPG engine but are occasionally pushed to the forefront in Dark Souls. Some areas and bosses become more tedious than challenging which takes away from the satisfaction of getting through.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Apr 15, 2014Fantastic game but you only get about 70% of what you pay for because the multiplayer is habitually broken. I don't mean "broken" as in "unbalanced," but rather a more literal sense—much of the time it just doesn't work.
Specifically, it's plagued by constant disconnections from both the host and the server and despite spending an inordinate amount of time on the forums seeking aid there has been little or no progress. When you do manage to play a match there's a whole other level of malfunction in the matchmaking and contract assignments—it's not uncommon to play team games at a 4 vs 1 balance and/or be asked to "find" and kill a player who is standing directly in front of you. If you have liked AC multiplayers and/or you end up liking the AC4 multiplayer you will be repeatedly let down.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Apr 10, 2014It's a 2-D platformer where you navigate platforms in 2-D—unfortunately there's not much else to say about it. Naturally it does have its idiosyncrasies (such as the level making snarky comments to you when you die) but I get the feeling that the quirkiness of the presentation only serves to deflect from the fact that it's pretty average.… Expand
Average User Score: 9.1Oct 21, 2013The Last of Us is the best zombie movie you've ever played.
First of all, the no-consequence-for-dying argument has been flogged to an inconsequential death in regards to this game, so I will say this: seeking consequence in a video game is barking up the wrong tree. Combat with realistic consequences driving survival would be something like a war rather than a game and it would likely have little entertainment value.
That said, I'm satisfied with calling TLoU an adventure game with survival as the central theme if it circumvents the tired old comparison of every survival-themed game with Dark Souls and Demon Souls. In fact, I'm happy to report that TLoU is nothing like either of those.
The Last of Us is a captivating and immersive experience that is worthy of the "masterpiece" praises that it has received. Fast-paced at times and a slow-burn at other times, it manages to keep attention and not become completely boring or stale. It has its tropes, but they aren't damaging to the overall experience.
Stealth is centered around being very quiet, as the zombies in this game are blind. It's a good idea and executed well for the most part, but it does make for some awkward moments with an AI partner. There are times when the AI will seem to stomp around at will without being noticed; meanwhile if you so much as break wind, the turbulence in your jeans will alert every zombie in the area of your delicious presence. It's not a mechanics issue or anything, it just looks like an odd contrast and it's one of the few things in the game that seems sloppy.
Character development is so strong that it's easy to become invested, but at the same time it doesn't feel forced you. In fact, you might not even notice until you find yourself blowing through half of your ammunition on a relatively harmless mob just because they got a little too rough with Not-Ellen-Page.
Multiplayer can be quite fun because it's quite a different approach, but at the same time multiplayer can be no fun at all because the differences fall apart. The focus is on collecting parts and supplies in order to sustain your clan of survivors and that doesn't necessarily correlate with kills alone. In fact, a support role is just as effective in collecting parts by crafting, healing, reviving, etc than those meant for a high kill count. However, you may often find that matches are overtaken by a haphazard run-and-gun approach that ruins the tactical slow-burn that it intends. This is being addressed with various combat balances but the MP still seems at risk for drastic dissolution of its population over time.
Multiplayer also seemed drastically under-realized on release as it featured only two game modes (neither of which involved surviving hordes of zombies). It has since revealed plans to expand the game modes through DLC and has already begun to do so. On one hand, more game modes are a welcomed addition but on the other hand they shouldn't turn the game into an 80 dollar version.
Overall, a great experience with nothing blatantly wrong with it. Multiplayer will be take-it-or-leave-it as usual, but single-player alone makes TLoU a great game.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.3Oct 20, 2013Grand Theft Auto Online is the single-player activities of Grand Theft Auto V transplanted into the multiplayer format of Red Dead Redemption.
It seems to be reasonably well-conceived but very poorly implemented as it's loaded with both bugs and oversights. What remains to be seen is whether it's also poorly executed if and when it finally does work as intended. For now, it's plagued by underwhelming (and at times incompetent) performance, incomplete content, and player abuse of game mechanics.
It's a shame that this comes in the same packaging as GTA V.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Oct 20, 2013Urban Skyrim is great fun and it's huge.
All hype and lore aside, it's a great game with plenty of activities to offer. It certainly has the mobius operand of a GTA game, but picked up a few things from Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne. If you are a fan of either Rockstar games or sandbox games there's certainly plenty of fun to be had.
Contrary to popular belief, it does have its issues. The most obvious is GTA Online which is a hot mess for the time being; when it isn't freezing or bugging out it can become a glitchers' and griefers' paradise with little to contribute. It'll be difficult to evaluate until it actually works as intended and by then interest may have waned. Story mode is engaging enough, but the three anti-heroes suffer due to the supporting characters; rarely do they do much more for the trio than advance the story and, save a few, they are difficult to care about. This seems like a missed opportunity to reinforce the depth of the contrast among the three main characters and form a more coherent main arc, especially when so much work went into generating a vast library of dialogue.
Some odd choices made in regards to controls. First, the omission of shoulder switch; leaving out a mechanic so ubiquitous to third-person gunplay feels odd, and cover suffers as a result. Speaking of cover, the surface that you're going to "stick" to can be unpredictable and sometimes comedic. The stealth mechanic is barebones and feels out of place, but isn't intrusive to the combat. Stealth as it relates to losing the cops is a nice touch, but also a bit under-realized as the cops sometimes seem clairvoyant when they shouldn't have line of site.
Overall, an excellent realization of a city-based sandbox with plenty of fun things to do and all the tools you need to dig into it. Story mode is plentiful although weakly framed. Online seems to be well conceived, but thus far poorly implemented.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.7Oct 20, 2013Best hockey video game in the whole wide room.
The less time you spend with NHL 14 the better the experience is. The bugs and quirks gradually work their way into the foreground and some of them are familiar as they are retained from previous years. The online experience is inconsistent in performance at best and degraded by exploits at worst. The expansion of "Be a Pro" mode to "Live the Life" is actually a marginal change and the "Live the Life" aspects often seem quite silly; multiple choice questions to determine your player's personality feels like a desperate attempt to make the game mode different. There's as much fun to be had as any previous year, but don't expect anything overly impressive unless you haven't played an NHL game in several years.
It's a good game, but for as much potential as it shows it can ill-afford to be anything but a great game. This is a trend with the NHL franchise as each year it markets itself well and makes a reasonably good impression but then gradually reveals itself as an underachiever.… Expand