54 Comments
9.5

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls review: human shield

Reaper of Souls reinvigorates an already great game It's not like the developer has been ignoring Diablo 3 since the controversy of its launch in 2012, or its subsequent massive sales success. Just a few months later, Blizzard added the Paragon experience system and new player selectable difficulty tweaks along with regular patches. But Blizzard has been saving the biggest changes for Reaper of Souls, Diablo 3's first expansion. Blizzard has a history of making major changes to their games in the wake of extensive player feedback, and Reaper of Souls is no exception. The much-maligned auction house? Gone. Difficulties? Completely changed. The Paragon system? Reset and applied account-wide to every character. There's hardly an aspect of Diablo 3 that Reaper of Souls doesn't change,...
Review
158 Comments
8.0

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster review: music of the spheres

Final Fantasy X doesn't get enough credit. A lot of Final Fantasy fans will praise the fourth game or the sixth — that one's my personal favorite. Others will talk about falling in love with Final Fantasy 7, the PlayStation debut where the franchise really exploded. But not enough people acknowledge Final Fantasy X, the first PlayStation 2 release in the series and one of its most energetic and imaginative entries. With Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, Square Enix is giving this franchise turning point another chance for the spotlight. The titular HD update is just a footnote, though — the real stars of this package are the games themselves and the huge amount of bonus content Square Enix has included with them. Final Fantasy X is one of the series' most energetic and imaginative...
Review
56 Comments
9.0

Monument Valley review: moonrise kingdom

Monument Valley put me into a trance. The kind of trance where you look up at a clock and notice that two hours have gone by in an instant. Designed to keep the player moving forward, and frustration-free in its execution, it's a rare puzzle game that I finished in one sitting and wondered what had happened to my afternoon. Monument Valley is inviting — with excellent puzzle design and a warm atmosphere that soothes as much as it intrigues. Monument Valley put me in the tiny shoes of Ida, a princess in a world of bizarre geometry and fanciful — but consistent — logic. The game is light on exposition but heavy on atmosphere. There's a past to this world and a sense of importance to Ida's wanderings. The premise serves to hand the player a series of 3D spatial...
Review
21 Comments
8.0

Age of Wonders 3 review: power fantasy

Age of Wonders 3 is a rush of absolute mastery over an entire world. You're given charge of everything in this fantasy world, from political, economic and social oversight to down-in-the-mud military judgements. But it's up to you to bring all of these elements together and create a functioning kingdom. The result is a complex, engrossing game that is unforgiving in its exploration of the purity of power. The pieces may be familiar — you create cities that provide military units that are used to conquer more cities — but the challenge is deep and endless in its variety. Each individual type of power fantasy at play in Age of Wonders 3 adds to the game's essential feeling of control and agency. You're invited to build a society, creating a culture and infrastructure ideally...
Review
32 Comments
7.5

Banished review: feast or famine

Banished strips the complexities of the city-building genre to their essentials. Shining Rock Software has rolled the genre back to the middle ages. There's no sewer system to manage, no power grid to maintain. Just a group of settlers pushing into the wilderness, and a wilderness that pushes back. This simplicity creates a focused game in Banished. It starts as an intimate simulation and grows to be a taut, strategic experience. Banished feels more like a survival simulation than a traditional city builder. I was plopped into the middle of the wilderness with a dozen people and some supplies, which they immediately began consuming. The race was on to clear enough land to plant crops and build houses before winter. Each step in this arduous process is shown off...
Review
73 Comments
7.0

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two review: a drop in the ocean

"As I said, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is part one of two, and perhaps the forthcoming second half will throw the first half into such stark relief that my puzzlement will be laughable in retrospect." That's how I closed my review of the first episode of Burial at Sea, and I wish I could tell you that my optimism was well founded. After playing the second half of Irrational's swan song (at least in this universe), I can safely say that it was not. Burial At Sea's second episode is lovely to look at and sports some surprisingly enjoyable sneaky combat, but both are used to tell a story that, without flowcharts and some seriously generous apologetics, is convoluted to migraine-inducing degrees. The good news? There's a method to this madness, one that, if you're willing to...
Review
25 Comments
8.0

Escape Goat 2 review: get smart

Escape Goat 2 made me feel brilliant. This 2D puzzle platformer from MagicalTimeBean accomplished a near-impossible task — it put me in a sort of Zen state for the entirety of my playthrough. It threw me into a series of rooms, each more devious than the last, and gave me one simple task — find my way out. With no need for handholding thanks to excellent level design, Escape Goat 2 offers a consistent challenge and a sense of playfulness that carries the game. In Escape Goat 2, you play as the titular purple goat that needs to escape from a series of single-screen stages — each a self-contained puzzle. There's a story about saving the souls of sheep from a mythical tower, but it's not really the main draw here. The game eschews heavy story elements for a singular focus on its...
Review
20 Comments
8.0

Luftrausers review: vintage bomber

You'd be forgiven for feeling a bit of retro-fatigue looking at developer Vlambeer's latest game, Luftrausers. With a color palette straight from the Game Boy Color and rumbly chipset sound effects, Luftrausers could be another game stuck in the past, content to mine your nostalgia rather than subvert your expectations. But Luftrausers isn't that — in fact, its genre-smashing design and tricky controls help keep it aloft even as it sputters in its efforts to be the next successor to 80s and 90s arcade shooters. Luftrausers is the latest game to pick a visual identity out of the past, sitting somewhere even earlier than the 8-bit era so many indie titles liberate their aesthetic from. On the surface, it looks like a game for the Atari or Spectrum, all blocky monochromatic planes...
Review
217 Comments
8.5

Infamous: Second Son review: drain you

Infamous: Second Son is a superhero game that purports to be about something deeper than blowing shit up. Surely you've heard that Stan Lee classic: "With great power comes great responsibility." That moral lesson has been focused on, deconstructed and returned to over and over in superhero comics since the 1960s. Meanwhile, superhero games have always leaned a little harder on just letting players have fun — all power, very little responsibility. The first two Infamous games tried with mixed success to introduce more ramifications to their virtual superhero stories, and if anything, Second Son has even nobler goals in mind. While this semi-reboot still plays with the origin story trope of a hero coming to terms with the impact of his new abilities, it also toys with darker...
Review
310 Comments
5.5

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes review: cold war

After years of waiting, Snake is back in Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. Nevermind, he's gone again. If you're confused by the rollout of Metal Gear Solid 5, let me try to break it down for you: There's the real Metal Gear Solid 5, subtitled The Phantom Pain, scheduled for release sometime before the sun and the Earth collide. And then there's Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, a prequel to The Phantom Pain that is being sold as a stand-alone experience. But beyond offering a sampling of some of the enhanced gameplay systems being added to the series, Ground Zeroes is hardly worthy of the franchise moniker. Ground Zeroes' backstory occupies 11 pages of text Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes picks up after the events of the PSP title Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. If...
Review
55 Comments
7.5

Yoshi's New Island review: bringing up baby

Yoshi's New Island is adorable. Aggressively adorable. Its pastel-hued aesthetic suggests that a very talented crayon-wielding child drew the entire thing and animated it by hand. But beneath the twee exterior lies a well-designed platformer that takes advantage of its unique features, separating it from other Nintendo mascot platformers. It takes many of the sensibilities of the older games in the series — including an experimental streak and a focus on exploration — and updates them for Yoshi's 3DS debut. And it wisely trades on nostalgia for previous titles. The result is a game that's equal parts smart and sweet. As in three previous Yoshi's Island games, Mario's sidekick Yoshi is the star of the show here, carrying an infant version of Mario across a series of 2D...
Review
173 Comments
9.0

Dark Souls 2 review: not the end

Dark Souls 2 is the most intimidating game I have ever played. This may not come as a surprise to fans of the notoriously challenging Dark Souls or its spiritual predecessor, Demon's Souls. But it's not just the difficulty that had me wincing in fear during my playthrough. Dark Souls 2 is unflinchingly ambitious in a way that few games are. Yes, the world is massive; yes, there are far more bosses than the last game; yes, I've spent dozens of hours playing, and I'm sure I still haven't seen close to everything. But where other open-world RPGs use that overwhelming size as an invitation to lose yourself in their world, with Dark Souls 2 it's a threat. From Software has embraced the challenge they're known for while simultaneously cutting away a lot of the fat — bits of...
Review
377 Comments
9.0

Titanfall review: my buddy

Titanfall has nine months of hype behind it, but it's got a stale genre's worth of expectations to live up to. After changing multiplayer gaming forever with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2007, developer Infinity Ward partially imploded with bad blood enough to go around. The staff that left Infinity Ward in 2010 went on to form Respawn Entertainment. In the ensuing years, multiplayer shooters have become predictable exercises in minor updates and more graphical polish. With Titanfall, Respawn proposes a solution. Taking a page from the playbook it created with Modern Warfare, Respawn has taken elements of action games, the online battle arena genre and more, expertly threading them through a shooter base that stands toe-to-toe with the heaviest hitters around. (Note: This...
Review
93 Comments
9.5

TowerFall Ascension review: bowstring symphony

It's tricky to write about TowerFall Ascension without sounding like a child — mostly because it's a powerful distillery of childlike glee. I can say, without an ounce of hyperbole, that I have never shouted, cheered or laughed so much playing a game in my life. TowerFall Ascension is designed to evoke these reactions in every single match, and it always, always does. Regardless of how its settings and variables have been tinkered, or the relative skill levels of its players, the matchup is exciting and dynamic every single time. For those unfamiliar with the original version, which launched on Ouya last year, TowerFall is a multiplayer-centric 2D arena game. Players take on the role of archers, and attempt to dispatch one another using either their bow and arrow or a well-placed...
Review
37 Comments
2.0

Basement Crawl review: cutting room

The very first time I tried to load a match in Basement Crawl, the game crashed. I should've taken that as an omen. Basement Crawl is a broken game. It's not just unpolished, though it is filthy with technical glitches. Basement Crawl fails on a fundamental level, with flawed basic design and incredibly limited gameplay. On a surface level, it mimics the chaotic multiplayer games of the late 90s, but it barely functions. Basement Crawl is an action-puzzle multiplayer game with a dirty, horror-inspired aesthetic. You play as one of four deranged characters — an evil teddy bear, scary clown, amputee crash test dummy in a wheelchair and a killer woman — and run around in isometric battlefields, throwing bombs at one another across corridors and around obstacles. Each...
Review
37 Comments
9.0

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 2 review: bleak house

The Walking Dead Season 2 kicked off to a weak start last December, at least compared to the high standards the first season set. But any misgivings that I carried from that shaky beginning were discarded by the end of "A House Divided," the second episode of the season. If the last episode was an adrenaline-packed intro to Clementine's status quo in the new season, Episode 2 is the pause to catch our breath. And it's so much better off for that breathing room, providing space to develop new characters and call back to last season. At the outset of "A House Divided," Clementine is still recovering from a series of brutal events and hanging out with a new group of survivors facing their own troubles. Unlike last time, though, we actually spend a while getting to know this fresh...
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5353_tracker