Review
37 Comments
5.0

CounterSpy review: arms race

CounterSpy offers a light-hearted take on the Cold War, but it probably needed some more time to cook. While the Cold War has appeared as the setting for a large swath of games, the conflict is generally portrayed as seriously as it happened. The world was, after all, on the brink of annihilation. It's pretty tough to make light of that. But, rather than playing it straight, CounterSpy goes another way, delivering a goofy, Pixar-esque take on the events that almost brought two superpowers to blows. Unfortunately, despite exemplary presentation values, CounterSpy's frequently-flawed gameplay brings the overall experience into the red. CounterSpy places you in the role of an agent of COUNTER, an apolitical spy organization whose simple goal is to prevent the planet from going...
Review
75 Comments
6.0

Hohokum review: all sizzle

Hohokum would be a fucking incredible screen saver. Growing up in the mid-90s, I remember being vaguely fascinated with early Windows screensavers, like that flying toasters thing and the ever-popular 3D maze. They almost looked like video games, and damn it, I wanted to play them. It turns out the dream was greater than the reality. It's a harsh comparison, but Hohokum only has just slightly more interactivity than those looping monitor programs. Developer Honeyslug has teamed up with Sony Santa Monica and artist Richard Hogg to create a game that's absolutely beautiful to look at. I just wish the playing of it would have connected with me on any level. Hohokum doesn't waste time building up context or telling you what to do In Hohokum, you take control of a...
Review
57 Comments
8.0

Arma 3 review update: single-player, Zeus module and more

In the months since Arma 3's release, the team at Bohemia Interactive has rolled out many additions to the base game, chief among them a promised three-act single player campaign that is leaps and bounds better at helping new players into the game. After more than 300 hours with the game I can unflinchingly say this is the best first-person infantry simulation I have ever played. Emphasis on the word simulation. Arma 3 is not an FPS, and every time it veers into standard FPS tropes like escort missions and gated objectives, it stumbles. At times, it takes a willing suspension of disbelief to out-think the game and divine what it is exactly the mission designers want you to do in order to advance the story. There are brights spots, like the open-world objectives available in the second...
Review
61 Comments
9.0

Rogue Legacy review update: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Vita

Rogue Legacy has always had its roots firmly planted in the classic platformers of the NES era, so it's no great shock that the game works perfectly on console and handheld. Even if it's an obvious fit, Sony and developer Cellar Door Games have ensured that the PlayStation platforms have the best version of Rogue Legacy possible. Most notably, Rogue Legacy takes advantage of the PlayStation Network's excellent cross-buy and cross-save systems. This means you purchase the game on one PlayStation platform and instantly have access to play it on the other two as well. Your saved game progress is also uploaded to the cloud and pulled down to any platform you're currently playing. I was able to hop between playing on a big HD television with the PS4 and playing on the bus ride to the office...
Review
22 Comments
5.0

Metrico review: moving pieces

I get the feeling that the developers of Metrico never watched Jurassic Park. An exclusive for the PlayStation Vita, at first, Metrico evokes a lot of the same aesthetic and charm of action puzzle games that have shined on the platform — most specifically, 2012's Soundshapes. Its stark visual aesthetic of flat gradient figures on a geometric world, full of pie charts and bar graphs combines with an ambient electronic score and sound effects to create a sense of place and feel that few games match. But Metrico also falls prey to that common boondoggle of Sony's handheld that so many other exclusives eye warily, using literally every input method that the Vita allows, demanding them in fact. Often at the same time. And for the umpteenth time that I stared at my screen blankfaced,...
Review
124 Comments
9.5

Divinity: Original Sin review: next to godliness

Divinity: Original Sin is a testament to what an experienced developer can do when freed from the demands of a publisher and left to create precisely the game it wants. Belgian developer Larian Studios has been building on its Divinity franchise for over a decade, since 2002's poorly named Divine Divinity. For Original Sin, the team pitched an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, billing it as the Divinity game they had always wanted to make but never had the publisher support for. It's one thing to make lofty promises in a Kickstarter campaign and another thing entirely to actually deliver on them. Divinity: Original Sin delivers in almost every conceivable way. It's a turn-based RPG with all the scope and depth that captured my heart as a kid but with the polish and smart,...
1513 Comments
8.0

The Last of Us review update: Remastered on PS4

The Last of Us was already one of the most visually impressive games of the last generation, so the necessity of "remastering" it for next-gen hardware is arguable. The results, however, are not. The Last of Us Remastered is a lovingly curated package. In addition to a graphically improved version of the core game that looks better, runs smoother and loads faster, Remastered contains a number of bonuses — most notably, the excellent Left Behind single-player DLC. While I would have loved an option to slot Left Behind into its place in the timeline while playing through the game, just having it included at all is a blessing. While this is a great package for anyone who hasn't played The Last of Us yet, it also includes some nice elements for people who are already hardcore fans. A...
Review
65 Comments
6.0

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review: existential crisis

Everyone you know and love will one day die. It's true for all of us, but Telltale's Walking Dead series — now nearing the end of its second season — has always done an especially powerful job of putting mortality at the forefront. In "Amid the Ruins," Season 2's fourth episode, that tension at the heart of the series is as loud and clear as it's ever been. Every moment of hope is contrasted by a devastating setback. Longtime companions fall before the episode is done, and protagonist Clementine finds herself in increasingly dire situations. This formula has done Telltale well in the past, but something is off in "Amid the Ruins." The normally brilliant characterization and writing of the series is less consistent. The plodding arc of the episode feels as exhausted and hopeless as...
Review
38 Comments
8.5

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King review: return of the king

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King blends the old, the new and the even newer to form a mixture that fits perfectly alongside the levels that made the core game so damned good. The first of three downloadable content packs for From Software's action role-playing game grounds players in history by paying homage to the intertwined level design of its forebears. Crown of the Sunken King revisits the past but retains the refined play style of the sequel; it feels about as comfortable as a Souls game can alongside a level of challenge you can't get anywhere else. Most importantly, it introduces a new, puzzle-based exploration formula with great success. Crown of the Sunken King is an indispensable expansion to the Souls franchise. And despite some problems balancing difficulty, it...
Review
27 Comments
8.0

The Wolf Among Us episode five: Cry Wolf review: bark at the moon

We're trying something new with episodic reviews on Polygon. What follows of something of a hybrid between recap and review and, as such, should not be read by anybody worried about spoilers. You've been warned. The trick to enjoying The Wolf Among Us is letting go of expectation. After completing Cry Wolf, the final episode of this (first? only?) season of Telltale's take on Fables, I was left with a feeling I've become well acquainted with while reviewing this series: Stunned, confused and more than a little delighted. The first expectation that Cry Wolf turned on its head was that this was a whodunnit, a story of the reformed Big Bad Wolf Bigby finding out who was killing off citizens of Fabletown. Since this secret sub-borough of New York City is home to storybook...
Review
27 Comments
8.0

Valiant Hearts review: medal of honor

In Valiant Hearts, the minutia of war is devastating. This adventure game's motion comic style and jaunty animation look fairly cheery. But Valiant Hearts is both an emotional gut punch and a valuable history lesson. A history lesson that resonated for me, thanks to the undercurrent of real-life details about the war effort. My knowledge of World War I was limited going in, mostly gleaned from dusty, bored afternoon sessions in high school history class, or a half-forgotten viewing of All Quiet on the Western Front. But Valiant Hearts effectively made the drama and heartbreak of the war matter to me. Valiant Hearts opens with an animated sequence depicting the spark that ignited World War I — the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The focus shifts to a French family...
Review
90 Comments
7.0

Wildstar review: infinity and beyond

Above all else, Wildstar's greatest obsession is keeping players busy. It has a unique tone compared to its competition, but Wildstar is also very much an amalgam. It's a collection of gameplay and content that may as well have been pulled from a bucket labeled "what fans of the genre expect" — that genre being massively multiplayer online role-playing games in the post-World of Warcraft era. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The familiarity can be inviting, especially when it allows for more challenging gameplay faster than other massively multiplayer games. Wildstar sets itself apart with the sheer amount of content available. Each of the game's massive zones is flooded with quests and challenges, constantly pushing players in new directions. It never let me slow down long...
Review
32 Comments
4.5

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark review: scrap metal

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark demonstrates how easy it is to ruin a good thing. Publisher Activision previously entrusted developer High Moon Studios with the Transformers license, which resulted in the excellent Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (and we'll just pretend the mediocrity of the Transformers: Dark of the Moon game didn't happen). The Cybertron games demonstrated a grasp of just about everything that made the idea of a Transformers game exciting — blasting and smashing giant robots with a variety of cleverly-executed weapons in third person, and all the while, shifting between vehicle and robot forms at will. By combining a good balance of risk vs. reward, proper incentives for experimentation, and good level design with a...
Review
92 Comments
9.0

Guacamelee review update: Super Turbo Championship Edition

Whenever I see a developer adding new content to a game that was already fantastic, I start to worry. Would I like more Guacamelee? Of course, especially considering how short the original game was. But what if they screw it up? If you share those fears, allow them to wash away in the light of this excellent addition to DrinkBox Studios' colorful action-platformer. Super Turbo Championship Edition adds two new levels that have been carefully inserted into the game so as to seem like they belonged there all along. It also provides new backstory with further insight into some of the game's characters, new enemies that test your skills even more and a second currency to collect, which is then used to unlock costumes that tweak your character's abilities. On top of the additional content,...
Review
17 Comments
7.5

Munin review: nevermore

Munin is as harsh and beautiful as the mythical Nordic landscapes that serve as its setting. This abstract world is full of references to Norse gods and monsters. From underworlds filled with pale green ghouls and dark corners to volcanic caves, breathtaking fjords and Valhalla-like mountain landscapes — everything about Munin's look screams rustic, unforgiving beauty. That theme translates into the deceptively simple puzzle-platformer's gameplay. Munin is hard in the best way. It's difficult to parse at first, but it rewards experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking. It's cleverly designed so that the solutions always feel as if they are in your grasp, even when they are dozens of steps away. Munin opens with a cryptic passage about Odin's raven (the eponymous protagonist)...
Review
54 Comments
5.0

EA Sports UFC review: losing ground

EA Sports UFC marks a new chapter for publisher Electronic Arts and the UFC. This is EA's second mixed martial arts title, after the appropriately titled EA Sports MMA, which debuted as now-defunct publisher THQ released yearly installments of its own UFC series. With the death of THQ, UFC and EA made a new deal. EA Sports UFC is the result. Players who enjoyed EA's Fight Night series may find much familiar about UFC's physics-based combat and teeth-rattling emphasis on realistically rendered damage to the human body. But where Fight Night and even THQ's UFC titles found varied success, with controls that were accessible to normal human beings, this new UFC's intense physicality is often overshadowed by a complicated, impenetrably opaque input scheme. UFC's physicality is...
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