Ryse: Son of Rome Review

Ryse: Son of Rome

I’ll be perfectly honest, I didn’t have high hopes for Ryse: Son of Rome. The Xbox One launch game got all sorts of negative press at E3 because it what seemed to be nothing but a series of quick-time event (QTE) interactive vignettes. When I experienced it in person at E3 I felt those comments were completely justified. I hate QTE, and to see an Xbox One launch game based entirely on them was a total letdown. But now that the game has launched and I’ve completed it, my Ryse: Son of Rome review has completely changed. In fact, I’ve come to … [Read more...]

Splinter Cell Blacklist Review

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Thank you, Ubisoft. Before getting into the pros and cons of Sam Fisher’s latest outing, it’s only fitting to open a Splinter Cell Blacklist review with gratitude. Sam Fisher is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Blacklist is likely the last Splinter Cell game to appear on a current-gen console, and it sends the franchise out on an undeniable high note. Conviction was a solid game in 2010, but it tried hard to appeal to action-oriented gamers, losing much of what makes Splinter Cell unique. With Blacklist, Ubisoft has gone back to its roots, a … [Read more...]

Disney Infinity Review

Disney Infinity

Remember when a certain open-world game caused parents, Congress and several national governments to scream in disgust? Those days seem far behind us, with sex and violence now the virtual norm. In light of that, I wanted to go counter-culture and celebrate not the release of GTA 5, but the triumph of the best family game of 2013 so far: Disney Infinity. This Disney Infinity review may be late, but it’s intentionally so. I wanted to see whether this new franchise in particular continued its momentum well after launch. And sure enough, like a … [Read more...]

BioShock Infinite Review

BioShock Infinite screenshot: Fireman

There isn’t much to be said about the original BioShock that hasn’t been said already, including words like “defining” and “masterful.” It’s with those massive shoes to fill that BioShock Infinite entered the limelight, a new game at the tail end of this console generation trying to prove that the current hardware can still manage to wow. And with Irrational Games at the helm, “wow” it does. BioShock Infinite isn’t technically a sequel, but it’s close. The game takes place not in the underwater city of in Rapture, but in the airborne city of … [Read more...]

God of War: Ascension Review

God of War: Ascension screenshot

To understand this God of War: Ascension review, you must understand my first foray into the God of War series. I had just had an unpleasant day at work, I wanted to play a game to escape, and I spotted the demo for God of War 3. I figured I would give it a try -- and I fell in love with the epic landscapes, violently entertaining battles (perfect for relieving stress) and the over-the-top epitome of machismo known as Kratos. Immediately I was hooked. I just had to know the whole story. I purchased the God of War trilogy and played it all … [Read more...]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn Review

Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC

In light of our previous praise of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the accolades from dozens of other outlets, it goes without saying that Skyrim is an outstanding game. With such a hit on their hands, some game developers might call it a day and move on to their next project. Bethesda -- thank the Nord gods -- is not one of those developers. Bethesda keeps adding to the already-expansive and mesmerizing world of Skyrim, first with Dawnguard DLC (review), then a little more with the Hearthfire DLC (review) and now with Dragonborn. But is … [Read more...]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard DLC Review

Skyrim_Dawnguard

More than a year after the release of Skyrim, the game is still going strong, and it's one of my favorite games. One of the ways Bethesda is keeping Skyrim fresh is through a batch of DLC, which has recently taken the form of Hearthfire and Dawnguard. I've prepared short reviews of both in anticipation that people will be interested in hearing about each of them. This is my Dawnguard DLC review; the Hearthfire review is located here. Dawnguard is much more substantial add-on than Hearthfire, adding on a full storyline centered on a war … [Read more...]

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review

Black Ops 2

I’m going to give you two options when reading this review: enjoy the world’s shortest, or stay tuned for an explanation. First, the short version: “buy this now.” With Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Treyarch and Activision have unleashed not only the best game in the COD series, but the best shooter of 2012. The stakes were high this fall, with several juggernaut sequels releasing at about the same time, but Black Ops 2 is both transformational for the franchise and undeniably excellent at a time when many shooters are feeling tired. Although … [Read more...]

Mega Stomp Panic Review

Mega-Stomp-Panic

I've got a couple of young boys whose idea of a good weekend involves jumping on the trampoline, playing Red Hulk vs. Weak Dad, and wishing they walked around with their own personal soundtrack to warn others they're coming. Thanks to a big backyard, my apparent inability to bruise and a sweet little gadget from ThinkGeek called the Mega Stomp Panic, I can now go to bed at night knowing their dreams have come true. And, frankly, so have those of my own inner six-year-old. The Mega Stomp Panic is simple enough in concept but so novel and … [Read more...]

Forza Horizon Review

Forza Horizon

The word “forza” is Italian for “force,” an accurate description of Microsoft’s first-party racing franchise. Developed originally as the counterpoint to Sony’s Gran Turismo series, Forza has evolved significantly over the years, going from a super-simulator that ate casual gamers for breakfast into Forza Horizon, a game that masterfully blends simulation-like elements with arcade-infused accessibility. I always appreciated what Forza did, even in those instances where I frankly wasn’t very good at it. With Forza Horizon, I can both appreciate … [Read more...]