Contrast Game Review

Contrast Game

It's tempting for a Contrast game review to focus on shadows as a gameplay mechanic, but the references throughout the puzzle platformer go far deeper than that. From its plot and characters to its level design, Contrast uses the difference between light and shadow -- and between upstanding and shadowy people -- to immerse players in a story unlike any platformer to date. That its gameplay is so original would be mere gravy if it weren't such an asset to the finished product. Contrast was one of the first indie games … [Read more...]

Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition Review

Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition

Zombie slaying comes in many forms, though largely tied to guns and melee combat. One of the most uniquely gratifying methods didn't really come into its own until Dead Rising 3: death by automobile. Careening through the streets smashing into the undead was one of the most visceral, enjoyable and novel gifts Dead Rising 3 gave to Xbox One owners. And it was one of the reasons I was most excited to test Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition. Cruising around town careening into zombies is one of the most enjoyable parts of … [Read more...]

Kinect Sports Rivals Review

Kinect Sports Rivals

One of the biggest selling points of the Xbox One, at least to hear Microsoft tell the story, is the console's inclusion of the Kinect 2.0 hardware. Unlike the PS4, which has an optional (e.g. "added cost" camera), the Kinect 2.0 sensor comes bundled with every Xbox One. Voice commands seemed the peripheral's primary function at launch, as only Ubisoft's Fighter Within really leveraged the Kinect's gesture-recognition at launch (and failed -- read our review). Going into this Kinect Sports Rivals review, I knew the … [Read more...]

Fighter Within Review (Xbox One)

Fighter Within Xbox One

One of the biggest initial selling points for Xbox One is its inclusion of the Kinect 2.0 sensor. Bundled with every Xbox One console, the Kinect 2.0 hardware is key to Microsoft's strategy for an all-in-one entertainment system. As we saw with Xbox 360 and the original Kinect camera, the technology also holds great promise for games, which is another reason Microsoft packed it into every next-gen console. Yet sometimes a game doesn't live up to that promise. That's unfortunately the case with Fighter Within, one of the … [Read more...]

Dead Rising 3 Review

Dead Rising 3

The gaze of the undead really escapes no one. Not primetime TV viewers, not webisode lovers, not even early adopters of the Xbox One. When Microsoft announced Dead Rising 3 as an Xbox One-exclusive launch game, fans of the original Dead Rising peed a little at the prospect of a comedic, open-world zombie slasher. If zombies are required to validate a system, well, the Xbox One was validated. But as fun as the game can be at times, our Dead Rising 3 review is summed-up simply by saying it’s not as fulfilling as one might … [Read more...]

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. … [Read more...]

Angry Birds Star Wars Xbox One Review

Angry Birds Star Wars

For all the talk about mobile devices ushering in the end of the game console, it’s beyond ironic to have Angry Birds Star Wars as an Xbox One launch game. Yet here it is, a franchise that began life as an iPhone game, alive and well on Microsoft’s next-gen console. The combination of handheld mechanics and hands-free Kinect controls is intriguing, and Angry Birds has never looked better. There’s also a metric ton of content and a surprising amount of level variety. Yet somehow the Angry Birds Star Wars Xbox One … [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Review

Skylanders Swap Force

I purposefully held this Skylanders Swap Force review to see how my kids responded after playing it for a few weeks. I certainly have my own ideas as a mid-30s game reviewer, but Skylanders Swap Force is technically geared toward a younger crowd, so seeing their response was important to me. Did they lose interest after the novelty of swapping figures wore off? Did the missions stay fresh? Did the new Battle Pack and Adventure Pack keep them intrigued? So three weeks in and with the new content in tow, I asked my … [Read more...]

NBA 2K14 Review

NBA 2K14

Writing an NBA 2K14 review is a lot like writing a review of NBA basketball. That's a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because it shows just how far the game has come in terms of overall quality, presentation and controls. If you're not so distracted by controlling a video game, you can really feel like you're playing "the game" itself. That comparison is bad, though, in that the game of basketball is so nuanced and takes such a long time to evolve -- 82 games plus the post-season -- that it's almost impossible to … [Read more...]

Rayman Legends Review

Rayman Legends

We tend to be big story buffs, so it’s with some surprise that we admit in this Rayman Legends review to enjoying the game in spite of its complete lack of a meaningful story. But you know what? It doesn’t really need it. The Rayman franchise has long been loved by families for its platformer prowess, a tradition that Legends upholds with aplomb. When the platforming is this good, the game doesn’t need cheap plotlines about princesses or alien invasions to keep you entertained. Just press start and let the fun … [Read more...]