Positive: 7 out of 7
Mixed: 0 out of 7
Negative: 0 out of 7
Average User Score: 8.6May 28, 2014There will always be a lingering need for procrastination, especially in video games, when it comes to experiencing something for the firstThere will always be a lingering need for procrastination, especially in video games, when it comes to experiencing something for the first time. This is in part because the anticipation of the event tends to be just as exciting as the execution. But this is also due in part to the fact that once you do partake in these exploits, you are that much closer to the end of them.
As we pass the halfway point in the releases for the episodic adventure for The Wolf Among Us, nothing could ring more true.
A Crooked Mile begins after the shocking revelations of Smoke and Mirrors (starting to see a pattern here?) with an enraged Bigby looking for Ichabod Crane.
Without spoiling too much, the hunt for Crane is the end goal of the entire episode. This may sound like it would result in a linear and boring episode, but it manages to stay fresh due to a variety of different variables to sway the usual path of linearity (and by linearity, I mean Telltale linearity, because though they give you multiple options to reach it, the path still usually ends at the same stop).
The art style and soundtrack also feel noticeably more refined than the previous episodes. The frame rate issues and bugs I encountered in earlier instances were non-existent or were not evident enough to take away from the scenes (aside from Stripper Bigby SPOILERS). The scenes also receive more applicable non-diegetic soundtracks, almost double the amount, that help add tension and emotion.
Once again, the bread and butter of The Wolf Among Us is in its characters and their interactions with one another. The reason these characters are all so entertaining is because they don’t adhere to the fairytale, perfect versions of themselves, and are actually quite the opposite. Just about each one is vulgar, rude, and downright ugly in some way, shape, or form throughout interactions with them in previous episodes, and most increasingly so. A Crooked Mile does a great job of taking these interactions from the previous episodes that made you view those characters in a negative light in those episodes, and subsequently changing your viewpoint and opinions simply based on the interactions with them in this episode. But that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t bad guys, and that’s a good thing because the ending introduces two new ones, in such a badass way that you can’t help but be excited to see where it all leads.
A Crooked Mile does a phenomenal job of continuing the story of Fabletown while still managing to remain fresh and exciting. Based on the revisions to an already fundamentally sound and phenomenal series, it’s going to be hard to top this episode. With that said, A Crooked Mile has managed to build even more anticipation towards the next episode’s release, where another journey awaits.
Gameplay: While sticking to its base routes, Episode Three manages to throw in a few variation and surprises in the gameplay that keep it exciting.
Appearance: Aside from the erant stripper wolf here and there, the game looks as good as ever.
Sound: With the addition of some much needed diegetic tracks combined with the usual great voice work and dialogue, the sound is the best it’s been in any episode.
Bottom Line: A Crooked Mile is the best episode yet, and moves the Wolf Among Us one step closer to being an elite game and franchise.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8May 28, 2014Square Enix’s sequel to Theatrhythm, Curtain Call, was released in Japan last week. In anticipation of the North American release due laterSquare Enix’s sequel to Theatrhythm, Curtain Call, was released in Japan last week. In anticipation of the North American release due later this year, I’ve been tapping away yet again at the game that convinced me to finally pick up a 3DS.
I first learned about Theatrhythm Final Fantasy when my friend Will brought it over to my house to show me. I didn’t even know it existed at the time, but it’s a game that was taken right from my dreams. The Final Fantasy series was a staple of my childhood. Squall and Rinoa’s trials and tribulations formed my entire idea of what true love was, but, more importantly, the music of the Fantasy series always perfectly scored the scenes of the games in a way that is unparalleled to any other series I’ve ever played.
When I say the idea of Theatrhythm was taken from my dreams, I’m not kidding. I swear I had the idea for the concept before the game was created. I love rhythm games and the music of Final Fantasy, so this game couldn’t be more perfect for me. You can even cite the pinnacle of my nerdom by my attendance of a Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert back in 2010. You know, the show where they have a full orchestra play selected pieces from all Final Fantasy games, synched to giant screens playing actual scenes from the game. It’s just as lovely as it sounds, and I can’t wait to go to another show whenever they make their way back to the east coast.
It’s fair to assume that a seemingly simplistic rhythm game would be easy to get burned out on quickly, but Square Enix made sure to vary the gameplay enough to ensure this isn’t the case. There are three modes: Field, Battle, and Event – all of which are paced and played differently. In addition, you begin the game by forming a party which levels up as you continue to play through each song. Leveling up characters makes them stronger and able to learn new abilities, which helps to unlock more characters in the Chaos Shrine, another mode of play once you earn your first “dark note.”
I didn’t get a chance to get pre-hyped for Theatrhythm since I played it within minutes of knowing its existence, but upon first and every playthrough thereafter, it lived up to every expectation I could have had for the game. The best music was selected to highlight the most emotional scenes from the series without being even close to trite. What a perfect way to commemorate 25 years of Final Fantasy!
Gameplay: Addictive, Fast, Fun. Perfect for light gameplay on your break at work, but don’t be surprised when you see you’ve clocked over 20 hours trying to unlock Yuna in the Chaos Shrine.
Appearance: Colorful and bright 3D! The Chibi styling of the classic characters is absolutely adorable.
Sound: The music is true to the original games. No unfamiliar renditions that make your face scrunch up in disgust.
Bottom Line: Final Fantasy Theathrythm is a nostalgic journey through one of the most well-known and loved video game franchises of all time.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3May 28, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Whenever I finish an episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, I’m left genuinely depressed, and yet, always wanting more. This episode, in particular, is extremely dark and bleak, but that doesn’t mean it is the best.
When the episode starts, you’re in one of the worst situations you’ve been in thus far. You’re being held hostage by Carver, and things aren’t looking good. Clementine is scared, but strong. She can get through anything, even being held hostage in a prison-like camp by Carver and his goons. Carver’s unpredictability kept me on the edge of my seat the entire episode. He’s a ruthless, complex villain who could kill at any second without batting an eye.
Sarah, Carlos’ daughter, is incredibly annoying in this episode. I found myself yelling at my television whenever she talked. If things in this world weren’t the way they are, I’m sure Clem and Sarah would be good friends. However, Clem is wise beyond her years and is much stronger than Sarah. It’s like they come from two different worlds. Sarah was sheltered by her daddy while Clem was left all alone in her treehouse to be rescued by Lee. She may be traumatized, but she’s a stronger person than she ever would have been if her parents hadn’t disappeared and become of the walking dead.
As far as gameplay is concerned, there isn’t much of it in this episode. It seems there is much more watching than interacting, and the decisions you do make don’t seem to have much of an impact on the story (I played through it twice). There is one scene toward the end of the episode that sent chills up my spine. You choose whether or not you want to witness the scene, and you learn a lot about yourself when you look at why you made the decision you did.
While the 90-minute length may be a negative mark for some people, it’s a positive for me, personally. This episode in particular is very punctual and gets right to the point. Not a moment goes by where the player is bored or wondering what to do. My time with games is limited nowadays, so, at times, it’s nice to be able to finish a game in one sitting.
Gameplay: The gameplay in this episode is lacking.
Appearance: What you would expect from a Telltale game. I didn’t have as many frame rate issues as I’ve had in previous episodes.
Sound: Jared Emerson-Johnson does a stellar job of setting the mood for the game.
Bottom Line: This is one of the toughest episodes to get through, as many scenes are gruesome and just downright sad. Once you’ve made it through, though, you’ll be anxiously awaiting Episode 4.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.2May 28, 2014The agony of waiting for new Metal Gear content is finally over.
The prologue to last summer’s reveal of Metal Gear Solid V: The PhantomThe agony of waiting for new Metal Gear content is finally over.
The prologue to last summer’s reveal of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released recently, along with some controversy to its price and length.
Taking a similar approach to Sony with Gran Turismo 5, Konami and the team over at Kojima productions have previewed the latest entry in the Metal Gear franchise with Ground Zeroes.
Snake’s most recent operation has him infiltrating a military base in Cuba to rescue two captured Militaires Sans Frontières agents. The game does a good job of setting up what will take place in The Phantom Pain, as well as recapping the events of Metal Gear Solid 3 and Peacewalker (so if you haven’t played them, their endings are spoiled).
Along with the Ground Zeroes main mission, there are other assignments Snake can undertake. They are all centered around the same base, but the time of day, weather, and objectives change. These objectives range from taking out anti-aircraft guns, to document recovery.
With the main campaign and side missions, I found there’s about 10 or so hours of gameplay. There is even more content if you attempt to take the game really stealthily and go for A ratings on missions.
While I did very much enjoy the game, I would qualify it as a big demo that will do a lot for fans of the series, but newcomers will find that their 30 dollars may be better spent elsewhere. The game, like the others before, is fairly presumptuous. It assumes that you are familiar with what’s going on in the story.
As for the actual game, I really enjoyed my time with it. Ground Zeroes’ missions take me back to the first levels of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and I thought it played very similarly to the Splinter Cell games, which I was a big fan of.
I found Ground Zeroes a lot more user-friendly than previous Metal Gear installments. The clunky UI has been streamlined, the previously broken L/R menus are a thing of the past, and the D-Pad functions as a faux clickwheel. This was much easier to use. It performed smoothly in the heat of combat and allowed for a better experience.
The UI has changed, but the combat and stealth options seemed more akin to the Metal Gear most will be used too. Your silencer will degrade as you fire the weapon its attached to, and Snake has his trusty tranquilizer gun as well. As with the other Metal Gear Solid games, it’s still up to you to find grenades and stronger weapons.
The game makes the player want to stick to the shadows, hide from guards, and take precise shots to avoid raising and alarm.
The stellar graphics and physics are powered by the Fox Engine, which can handle the most supreme details, and really add to cinematic experience that Kojima so loves to deliver. I never thought that the detail of rain on Snakes op’s suit would be a point of interest in a game. The game looks great and the Fox Engine helps with shadow and light physics, which adds depth to the stealth sections of the game.
There were little graphical or gameplay errors, but my game experience, overall, was pretty well polished and I have no real complaints. I was glad to see that, along with solid story telling, that the game was very playable too.
I enjoyed my time with Ground Zeros, and am still going back to finish the side missions. The game did a great job of getting you ready and excited for whats to come in The Phantom Pain. Sadly, we don’t yet have a release date for Phantom Pain, so this will just have to hold us over until then. I hope it will be holiday season, 2015, but, with E3 and TGS still to come, hopefully we will learn when we can have the full experience.
Gameplay: A more user friendly UI brings Ground Zeros into the realm of modern shooters, making for a more enjoyable experience. A well designed Fox Engine provides a smooth and tactical approach to level design and controls.
Appearance: With stunning visuals and excellent camera work, Ground Zeroes has a great combination of cinematic flair, while keeping the gameplay looking just as great at all times. Shadows, character models, and even weather affects all look amazing.
Sound: Borrowing from the legendary James Bond films, Kojima and Co. provide unforgettable opening cinematics. Be it with original themes, or music from popular culture. Credit must be given to Fox Team for taking such a grand approach to opening titles. While in-game, combat and in the field operations are those of the best spy thriller films. While the game’s dialogue is among some of the best story telling in video games.… Expand
Average User Score: 9.0Feb 26, 2014Our favorite Italian plumber is back and better than ever.
When Super Mario 3D World was announced at E3 last year, I was thrilled. AfterOur favorite Italian plumber is back and better than ever.
When Super Mario 3D World was announced at E3 last year, I was thrilled. After all, my Wii U, which I purchased on launch day, was begging for something new to play. Since I felt that Super Mario Galaxy was the greatest Mario game on the Wii, I had high hopes for 3D World on the Wii U, considering the Galaxy team was behind it.
Super Mario 3D World is a breath of fresh air from the New Super Mario Bros. series that we all know and love (and frankly are getting tired of). I really enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. U (and especially the New Super Luigi U DLC), but I was left wanting something more. I wanted a great 3D platformer. Super Mario 3D World delivered. This is exactly what the Wii U needed right now.
I was never a big fan of Super Mario Bros. 2, but the one thing I did like about it was the ability to choose your character. I don’t like when they force me to be Mario when I’m player 1, Luigi when I’m player 2, etc. I like to be able to choose my character, and Super Mario 3D World lets any player choose to be Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad.
The all new cat suit power-up is a lot of fun. Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad can transform into a cute little cat and scratch enemies and climb up walls (and the flagpole at the end of a level). My favorite new power-up, however, is the Boomerang Flower, which was introduced in the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land. Anyone who has played a Mario game knows just how annoying those Boomerang Bros. are, and we can finally use their awesomely annoying power to destroy enemies.
What I love about this game is that it combines elements from so many different Mario games and blends them seamlessly. Some of the levels are very similar to levels I remember playing in Super Mario Galaxy, and other levels remind me of Super Mario 64. I had a strange moment while playing, déjà vu of sorts, where I felt like I was playing Super Mario 64. Obviously, the character selection mirrors that of Super Mario Bros. 2. The little tune that plays when you die is from Super Mario Bros. 3, as are the toad houses. The music is the same as well, and Toad even says the same thing to you when you walk into his house.
I was relieved when I saw that the game automatically saves after each level is completed. One of the most frustrating things about the NSMB series was that you had to reach- and complete- a castle before you could save. If you lost all your lives before beating the castle, you would have to go all the way back to the last castle and redo all the levels you already completed. It made the games very frustrating and it was just unnecessary.
All in all, SM3DW is a charming, beautiful experience that I’ve been waiting my whole life to play. Like most gamers, I grew up loving Mario. He was the first video game character I ever saw, and I’m delighted that he’s still around and doing better than ever.
Gameplay: I don’t think there was one moment when I wasn’t smiling while platforming about in SM3DW. It’s simple fun for casual and hardcore gamers alike.
Appearance: This game is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so refreshing to see Mario and company is stunning high definition. The environments are beautiful as well; I was very impressed with the quality of the water. It’s the best looking Mario game to date, but it’s not quite up to par with other true next-gen games such as Knack.
Sound: The soundtrack is perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it. The music just puts a big smile on your face and really adds a lot to the feel of the game.
Bottom line: This is a system seller for the Wii U. People who already own the console should not hesitate to pick this up, and those who don’t should really consider it. SM3DW proves that Nintendo still knows how to make games, and great ones at that.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Feb 26, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Game – Season 1. Do not read if you have not completed Season 1.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Game was released in 2012 to much praise. Season 1 contained five episodes, with the first being released in the spring and the final in the fall. Despite its technical hiccups, its gripping story and lovable characters made it one of the best games of the year. Now, fans of the series can purchase the first episode of Season 2, titled “All That Remains.”
In the first episode of the new season, the player takes control of Clementine, a character all The Walking Dead fans are very familiar with at this point. However, this isn’t the same innocent Clem from season 1. She appears to be a couple years older and much more acclimated to the cruel world she has grown up in. Lee isn’t there to comfort and protect her anymore, and she has to face this harsh world pretty much on her own.
While the pacing in this first episode is kind of slow, it basically serves as a building block for later episodes. It sets the mood for the season and helps the player become familiar with new characters. On its own, it’s nothing spectacular, but I’m sure it will fit in perfectly once later episodes are released.
I don’t want to go too much into the story of this episode in fear on spoiling it, but I will say that the player should be prepared for a very somber experience. Those who loved season 1 no doubt will enjoy the first episode of the new season. The end of the first episode leaves you wanting more, and that’s a good thing. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Gameplay: Anyone who has played a Telltale game knows what the gameplay is like; walk around, explore your environment, and press the button prompted on the screen. It’s simple gameplay that really lets you focus on the story.
Appearance: Visuals are on-par with the first season’s, and, as to be expected, there are a few technical glitches (The weirdest one I experienced was lifeless character models in bedrooms that I could walk right through). These glitches usually don’t affect the gameplay or distract you from the story, but when they do, it’s kind of a letdown.
Sound: I was very impressed with the soundtrack; so much that I frantically searched the internet in search of where I can buy it, but to no avail. The track that particularly stands out in my mind is the song that plays at the end credits. It’s beautiful. The sound in the game really adds to the somber feel the game aims to present.
Bottom line: If you enjoyed Telltale’s Game of the Year Award-winning The Walking Dead: Season 1, you can’t afford to miss season 2. The first episode is just a taste of what’s to come, and you’ll be dying to know what happens next.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Feb 26, 2014Left Behind reminded me why I loved The Last of Us so much. It was easily my favorite game of 2013, and possibly my favorite game of all time.Left Behind reminded me why I loved The Last of Us so much. It was easily my favorite game of 2013, and possibly my favorite game of all time. When the first and final single-player DLC, Left Behind, was announced, I couldn’t wait to jump back into the incredible world that Naughty Dog created.
Left Behind takes place before the events of The Last of Us. You play as Ellie and are accompanied by your best friend, Riley. This takes place before Ellie ever met Joel. In addition to playing as a slightly younger Ellie in the events that took place before The Last of Us, the game also fills you in on what Ellie was up to while Joel was nearly bleeding to death during the campaign. At first, it may not make sense as to why the game shows these two events together, but it becomes more clear as the game progresses that there is a correlation, mostly emotional, between the two events.
Playing as Ellie feels a lot different than playing as Joel, as one would imagine. Ellie can handle herself well, but she’s not as hardened of a killer as Joel is, obviously. Ellie dons her trusty switchblade, but don’t let that make you feel comfortable. I found that it’s better to be as stealthy as possible, especially when playing on Hard or Survivor difficulties.
I absolutely love the relationship between Riley and Ellie that developed over just a couple hours. It made me think about my best friend growing up, and just how special a friendship between two teenage girls can be. It was nice to meet someone that Ellie cared about other than Joel, and it really made me realize why she is so scared to lose someone again. She needs Joel as much as he needs her.
Gameplay: Like I said before, playing as Ellie feels much different than playing as Joel, and it’s definitely more difficult to play as Ellie. However, the combat is very refreshing, and it felt good to kill Infected again.
Appearance: As expected, environments and all visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I really missed this world, as weird as that may sound. I know Ellie would kill for the opportunity to escape that world as soon as possible.
Sound: The voice acting performed by Ashley Johnson and Yaani King is superb. Their friendship is absolutely beautiful, and this could not have been fully realized if not for the incredible acting performances. The music is borrowed from the main game’s soundtrack, and is beautiful, as always.
Bottom line: Any fan of The Last of Us cannot afford to miss this brilliant story expansion. If you have not played the main campaign, please do not play this DLC; it will mean almost nothing to you. However, if you played and enjoyed the incredible universe that Naughty Dog created, do not miss out on Left Behind. At $14.99, it may seem a bit pricey for just over two hours of gameplay, but it’s worth every penny.… Expand