Our favorite Italian plumber is back and better than ever.
When Super Mario 3D World was announced at E3 this 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. Read More…
Developer/Publisher: Compulsion Games/Focus Home Interactive
Available on: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PC
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Release date: November 15th, 2013
On Nov. 15, the day the PlayStation 4 launched in North America, PlayStation Plus members could download Contrast for free, and non-members could download the indie title for $14.99. When I launched Contrast for the first time on my brand new PlayStation 4, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it had something to do with shadows, but that was about the extent of my knowledge. I ended up enjoying the game a lot, although I wish it had been more polished.
The game follows a little girl named Didi and a mysterious woman named Dawn, who you play as. You quickly find out that no one else can see Dawn, and it’s easy to assume that she is Didi’s imaginary friend. Didi has a complicated childhood. Her parents are separated, she’s home alone a lot while her mom is out working as a singer in a nightclub, and she just wants her parents to be together and happy again. She frequently sneaks out of the house with Dawn to try to mend things between them. Dawn’s ability to shift into the shadows allows her to reach places that Didi could never reach alone. Read More…
Developer/Publisher: Guerrilla Games/Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: First-Person-Shooter (Current Sci-Fi)
Available on: PlayStation 4 only
Mode(s): Single-player campaign, multiplayer
(NA) November 15th, 2013
(EU) November 29th, 2013
(JP) February 22nd, 2014
What I’ve Played:
Campaign to completion (Hard)
Hours of Multiplayer
Behold, Killzone: Shadow Fall, a game among Sony’s vanguard for its PlayStation 4 launch line-up, as well as one of their exclusives. As an exclusive launch title for Sony’s shiny new console, it carries with it a lot of hype and expectations for the “Next Gen.” The first Killzone was infamously dubbed as a ‘Halo Killer’ on the PS2 when, in actuality, it was never trying to be one. While Halo had super soldiers, alien weaponry, and a colorful world, Killzone was more grounded in realism with armies of soldiers, current-sci-fi guns, and gritty war-torn battlefields. It aimed to deliver a World War 2 setting of the near future and, in doing so, they produced the Helghast with their iconic black gas masks and glowing red eyes. They are reminiscent of the Third Reich and are essentially Neo-Nazis.
Has this new Killzone been able to deliver on the “Next Gen” experience many are waiting for, or is it familiar territory hidden behind the shiny new coating? Read More…
Developer/Publisher: Irrational Games/2K Games
Genre: First-person shooter
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, OS X
Release date: Nov. 12, 2013
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is a beautiful fusion of the classic BioShock and the 2013 hit BioShock Infinite.
While most BioShock fans enjoyed gliding along the skylines in BioShock Infinite, many of them missed the living, breathing underwater city of Rapture that they came to know and love in the first two games. In Infinite’s first story-driven DLC, Burial at Sea, they can experience Rapture in a whole new way.
In Episode 1, you play as an alternate version of Booker DeWitt, a character you know well from BioShock Infinite. He is working as a private investigator when Elizabeth hires him to help her search for a little girl named Sally. Booker and Elizabeth’s relationship is much different this time around. Elizabeth isn’t a scared little girl anymore; in a lot of ways, she’s more brave than Booker is. Also, she looks much different than she did in Columbia. She dons a cigarette and red lipstick, which is appropriate for the 1958 setting.
Rapture is more beautiful than ever before. It’s so enthralling to be able to explore Rapture before its collapse. Rapture is alive and well; peaceful. It took me more than an hour longer to complete the game than it should have because I found myself walking around and exploring Rapture. It was so nice to see the underwater city before its destruction. Read More…
Since the release of Resident Evil 4 in March of 2005, it seems little has gone right for Capcom–with the lackluster reception of Resident Evil 5, followed by last year’s Resident Evil 6 which came with many mixed reviews, resulting in a fairly quick price drop. This is in addition to issues with other titles like Street Fighter, their fallout with game designer Keiji Inafune, and the consequential canceling of a few Mega Man games, even those that were almost finished.
Yet, in the wake of these many poor decisions, there is one facet of their games that they have gotten right: The inclusion of “The Mercenaries” multiplayer and 3DS game.
They took the stages, characters and weapons that existed in the games they were producing already and created a multiplayer mode in a series that had little to no multiplayer options. This worked, due to the fact that a major selling point of the later titles is the FPS gameplay and weapon customization. Read More…
Release date: Oct. 12, 2013 (In US, Australia, New Zealand and EU)
Color options: Red or Blue with black trim
What’s in the box?: Console, charger, 4GB SD card, stylus, manual, AR Cards, Club Nintendo Registration info
Price: $129.99 (US)
With another entry in Nintendo’s highly successful handheld market, the Nintendo 2DS is a more affordable, “kid friendly” version that launched with seemingly little fanfare on October 12th along with Pokemon X and Y. I picked up the unit due to its low price point and the 2DS’s biggest, selling point: While the game console will play 3DS games, it has no 3D display option.
The system still comes with outward facing 3D cameras for things like capturing faces for making Miis, or for opponents in Face Raiders, a tech demo game that is pre-installed and a fun way to waste time.
The Nintendo’s 3DS has a 3D feature that is not recommended for children under the age of seven, so it appears that one of their main target demographics are those who are not able to use their product safely. It seems Nintendo has gone about addressing that issue with the 2DS, as it allows kids to play the most recent 3DS games as well as “over 2,000” previous DS game types without the potential for eye damage caused by the glasses-free 3D visuals. Read More…
Developer/Publisher: Game Freak/Nintendo
Genre: Role Playing Game
Available on: Nintendo 2DS/3DS (reviewed on the 2DS)
Modes: Single player, online multiplayer
Release date: Oct. 12, 2013
Writer’s Note: I did not write a separate review for Pokemon X, as the games will play very, very similarly, with the big difference being the difference in Pokemon you can catch in the wild.
The Pokemon fad started with me when I was younger. I won’t forget where I first heard about them. It was a typical classroom day in second grade (so this would have been 1998, the year in first arrived in the states). I was sitting there working on some project, with all my classmates conversing amongst themselves, when a classmate near me was looking at this cardboard cutout of this thing called Squirtle. I had recalled seeing this on Lunchables boxes at the store but had no idea what they were.
“What is that thing?” I asked. “They are called Pokemon, it’s a TV show and card game,” they replied (details are fuzzy). “Is it fun? “Uhhh…DUH! I wouldn’t have them if they were stupid!” So, I went home, and told my mom I wanted Pokemon. She looked at me like I had six heads and had no idea what I was talking about. I told her it was a TV show and card game. “What’s it about?” “Monsters that fight each other!” I yelled as a scurried off to find when the show would be on so I could watch it before school the next day.
I watched the hell out of the show many mornings, catching reruns at night, where along the way I learned about the game Red and Blue. Being the consummate nerd that was, I had, HAD to have Pokemon Blue for Christmas. Read More…
Quantic Dream tugs at your heart strings in its latest project.
Developer/Publisher: Quantic Dream/Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Interactive drama
Modes: Single player, Dual mode
Available on: PlayStation 3
Release date: Oct. 8, 2013
Video games are maturing like never before. The “interactive drama” genre is growing ever popular, with games like The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain, and now Beyond: Two Souls getting a lot of attention. Critics claim that these games are hardly that, and that they should just be made into movies instead. In speaking with GameSpot about Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream’s David Cage said, “No one should be allowed to define what a game is or should be.” Look how much video games have changed since their invention. If games don’t change and evolve, then what’s the point?
While some argue that Cage should be making movies instead of games, I completely disagree. There are so many different types of games today, and Cage is trying something different. The thing about Cage’s games is that you’re either going to love them or hate them. Those who are open to trying new types of games will praise Cage for doing something so different and special, and others who think he should just make movies will never touch anything he makes; that’s the beauty of it.
The game follows Jodie Holmes, a girl who has had an entity attached to her since birth. This entity sometimes helps her get out of sticky situations, but overall, it has ruined her life. People think she’s a “witch” and a “demon” because the entity, Aiden, gives her supernatural powers. Throughout the game, which spans 15 years, we see her go through all sorts of depressing situations because of Aiden. Whenever something good is about to happen, Aiden seems to ruin it for her, even if it may be unintentional. Read More…
Developer: Rockstar North (With assistance from Rockstar: NYC, San Diego, London, Leeds, Toronto, New England, Lincoln)
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Available on: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (Reviewed on the Xbox 360)
Release Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Grand Theft Auto V is one of the biggest titles of the year. Explosive action, colorful characters, creative landscapes and all around fun is what made Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise one of the pinnacles of video games. The latest entry in the series, GTA V, is no exception.
It is, by far, the best game in the series. Having played all of the previous 3D sandbox games in the series, (III, Liberty City Stories, Vice City, Vice City Stories, San Andreas and IV) I can say that this title draws from all of its predecessors in a good way. It’s well-polished and has received a healthy dose of the 21st century, both in terms of graphical and mechanical capabilities. The story focuses on unique conditions (all a bit exaggerated) that exist living in a Los Angeles-esque city in 2013.
While it’s not perfect, it is pretty damn close. The fact that the game has no loading times outside of the initial startup, despite the massive size of the game map, is a real achievement in video games and a wonderful mechanic that truly adds to the gameplay. The massive map, with the plethora of things to do, see, and buy means that gamers will have a seemingly endless amount of fun with this title. Read More…