[REVIEW] Snake Pass

Snake Pass
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sumo Digital
Available on: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price: $19.99 USD

The folks at Sumo Digital have taken a novel approach to the beloved mascot platformer of the N64 era, in by which they’ve gone and removed jumping altogether. In Snake Pass, players control Noodle the snake and slither and weave their way through branches and blocks in order to locate three hidden gems. Every stage presents an increasingly difficult obstacle course to navigate, but underneath the game’s beautifully colorful exterior and charming characters lies a game whose enjoyment will be largely dependent on your ability to adapt and appreciate its frustrating control scheme. Continue reading

The First Few Hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda are… Not Good.

Until now, Mass Effect exclusively consisted of my favorite trilogy in modern gaming. BioWare’s space opera popularized choice-with-consequence gameplay, building romantic relationships, and the ability to create and import a hero you’ve spent considerable time with into future installments.  Continue reading

[REVIEW] NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata
Developer: PlatinumGames Inc.
Publisher: Square Enix
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), PC
Release date: February 23, 2017 (PS4), March 17, 2017 (PC)

Yoko Taro’s Drakengard on PS2 was a bit of a mess, but underneath the mounting frustration was a sign of something brilliant. The way the creative director formulates dark tales and digs into the human psyche is unlike any other on the planet. NieR, Yoko Taro’s 2010 action RPG based on the 5th ending of the original Drakengard, suffered from similar issues, like repetition and unsatisfying combat, yet it’s a game that touched a lot of people and amassed quite a cult following along the way.

It’s been nearly seven years since NieR graced the PS3 and Xbox 360. In what seems to be a continuing theme, NieR: Automata isn’t the prettiest game on the market (sometimes resembling a late-generation PS3 release) and can be a little insane at times, but there’s no denying how incredibly special it is to me. It’s a rare gem that comes along every so often and turns everything we know about video games, storytelling, genre definitions, and the emotional engagement of its players upside down.

In short, NieR: Automata is not only a worthy sequel for a game many thought would never receive one, but one of the strangest, most compelling, thought-provoking, and beautifully heart wrenching games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. Continue reading

One Tamriel is the Improvement Elder Scrolls Online Needed, But it’s Still Missing Something

When my friends and I jumped in to Elder Scrolls Online at launch, there was a unanimous sense of disappointment in the air. As we created our characters and ended up questing on opposite sides of the world, we realized something: for being an MMO, they certainly made it difficult to play with other people.

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[REVIEW] Double Dragon IV

Double Dragon IV
Developer: Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue)
Publisher: Arc System Works
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), PC
Release date: January 30, 2017
Price: $6.99

Growing up in the NES generation, I played my fair share of Double Dragon. Whether alone or with friends, it was a series of games that I gravitated towards whenever I wanted a break from the labyrinthine map of Metroid, the open world of Zelda, or whatever cheap garbage Mike Tyson was pulling in Punch-Out. I’ve never put Double Dragon in the upper echelon of classic gaming, but for what it was it was just fine.

For better or worse, Double Dragon IV is essentially more of the same.

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[REVIEW] Resident Evil VII: Biohazard

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
Developed by: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), PSVR, Xbox One, PC
Release date: January 24, 2017
Price: $59.99 MSRP

While Resident Evil 4 is often lauded as the best in the series, it’s hard to argue that it’s the game that sent the franchise in to a more action-focused direction. And while the fifth and sixth entries built upon that less-horror-more-action focus, at least we received stellar remakes of the GameCube’s Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0, along with the Revelations side-stories.

At first glance, Resident Evil VII is a far, far departure from what made the series a household name. It’s presented in first-person, supports VR, and tends to draw its inspiration from the likes of P.T. and Outlast. However, after spending nearly 11 hours trapped within the terrifying Baker plantation, I completely disagree with that notion. This entry truly embraces what made Resident Evil Resident Evil, doing so in such an effective manor that it not only dethroned Resident Evil 4 as my new series favorite, but ranks among the greatest horror gaming experiences of all time.

In short, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is fucking incredible.

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[REVIEW] Fire Emblem: Awakening

Fire Emblem: Awakening
Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Console: 3DS
Release Date: February 4, 2013 (NA)
Genre: Turn-based strategy RPG

I’ve never had a commute to work where I wasn’t driving myself, and if I’m at home I’m typically playing games on my TV rather than squinting at a handheld screen. However, I’ve found myself playing more on these little portable devices over the last year or so and I have a lot of catching up to do with my 3DS backlog.

The game that sat atop my towering must-play list since its release was Fire Emblem: Awakening, which I finally completed over the weekend.

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