Costume Quest 2 Review

Costume Quest 2 is a great example of a sequel that improves on its predecessor in virtually every way. That’s not to say that it’s entirely flaw-free, but the problems from the first game have been largely minimized in such a way that it’s a much more fulfilling experience than the already-worthwhile original. That said, much of the game will be instantly familiar to those who have played the first game: a large part of gameplay still consists of going house to house trick-or-treating for candy to progress, the combat is still jRPG-inspired, and the overall game still has a distinct sense of humor that you won’t find anywhere else. Read more →

The Wolf Among Us Review

If you play through it only once, The Wolf Among Us manages to be a fun, gritty little murder mystery involving fairytale characters who have somehow found their way into New York. If you play through it more than once, though, the whole game starts to come apart at the seams, showing you just how little your actions impact the events that play out over the course of the game. Linear and mostly-linear games aren’t a bad thing, mind you, but when a game has nothing else to offer but QTE sequences and a beginning screen that openly lies about the game’s reactivity, that’s a pretty serious problem that all but ruins the fun of your first playthrough. Read more →

Valiant Hearts: The Great War Review

Games using Ubisoft’s UbiArt Framework are almost immediately recognizable because they resemble a moving 2D painting or drawing. Child of Light, for example, had a watercolor kind of aesthetic that was really pleasing. Valiant Hearts, on the other hand, has more of a “hand-drawn” look to it, and this ultimately proves to be its downfall. This is a game where the aesthetic and the message are so completely at odds that the game doesn’t seem to have any idea of what it wants to accomplish, so all you’re left with are a few adventure game sequences that spiral into unenjoyable minigames. It’s a shame, too, because this is one of the few games willing to venture into the nitty-gritty of World War 1. Read more →

Murdered: Soul Suspect Review

Murdered: Soul Suspect is a game that seems to have been made for those who enjoy the stories in their games above all else. Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much, but I can also see how others could walk away with a completely different impression. It is a game littered with various flaws, after all, and while I felt that all of these flaws were minimized and outweighed by the strength of its story and atmosphere, those who primarily look for a deep gameplay experience and replay value are bound to wind up disappointed. Read more →

Transistor Review

There are games that are meant to be played through, and then there are the rarer games that are designed to be experienced. Transistor, the follow-up game from the creators of Bastion, is definitely the latter. Between its amazing combat system, breathtaking music, and largely ambiguous story, it’s the kind of game that wraps you up and refuses to let go, even long after you’ve finished. Read more →

Bound By Flame Review

Bound By Flame is one of those titles that I went into with absolutely no expectations. I hadn’t played a game by developer Spiders before (though I’ve been tempted to pick up Faery: Legends of Avalon and Mars: War Logs on multiple occasions), so I really had no idea what to expect from them. I had heard that Mars was a seriously flawed game that showed a lot of promise, but didn’t understand what that meant until I played Bound By Flame. This is a game that gets fairly close to the greatness—and moral ambiguity—of the Witcher games on several occasions, but that also consistently fails to provide entertaining gameplay that lives up to that promise. Bound By Flame is a potentially great game consistently undermined by awful gameplay, mind-numbing tedium, and an overwhelming feeling that a huge chunk of the game near the end is simply missing. Read more →

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