Category Reviews

until dawn4

Until Dawn- Make your choices, suffer the consequences

Horror games come in many forms, but a majority of them are wholly scripted affairs- if you die, it’s game over and you reload your last save/checkpoint and try again. Developer Supermassive decided to take a page from Quantic Dream’s book and decided to meld choice with the horror genre. And so, much like Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, choice matters very much in the PS4 exclusive title Until Dawn. There is no game over- make the wrong choice, and you live with the consequences. Or suffer with them, if you like, when you fail to keep a character alive. Like Heavy Rain, Until Dawn has multiple endings, and your choices affect the outcome to each playthrough. But since this is a horror game, the big question is: Is it scary? The answer to that is simply, “Yes, it is...

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Unfriended- A failed cinematic experiment lacking in scares

Horror films come in many forms and deal with a wide variety of menacing things, but one thing that makes a good horror movie is having characters that are likeable and that you truly worry for their safety. Without characters to care for there would then have to be a truly creepy atmosphere(The Woman in Black), a compelling villain (Silence of the Lambs), or, at the very least to make it entertaining, some truly creative ways to dispatch your victims (the Final Destination series). In recent years many films have opted to embrace some modern technology and present the “found footage” movies, beginning with The Blair Witch Project and lately used in Project Almanac...

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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture- A beautiful mystery

Exploration games can be a mixed bag. Dubbed “walking simulators” by some, since they feature minimal gameplay, the games really need something to make them stand out and engage players. Journey did it with beautiful graphics and a charming trek towards a mountain that can be all the more meaningful if you meet someone along the way. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter did it with a different gameplay mechanic in being able to piece together past events to unravel its mystery. Now Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture from developers The Chinese Room joins the growing list of these type of games. But with its minimalist gameplay, does it have enough to engage players and make it worth their time?

The answer to that is a resounding, “Yes!” Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture sucks you in with its mystery a...

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Fantastic Four is one fantastic mess that you should avoid

The Fantastic Four was first introduced to comic readers in November, 1961, by creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Readers soon embraced the first family from Marvel Comics- Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm (aka The Thing)- and their various adventures over the years, especially their run -ins with the villainous Victor Von Doom (aka Dr. Doom), gained a substantial following. In 2005 director Tim Story brought the characters to the big screen in a version that had its moments, cast chemistry, and a decent villain in Julian McMahon’s version of Doom. The film did well enough to garner a sequel (2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), and while both films were watchable and somewhat entertaining, many critics had numerous problems with them...

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beyond eyes

Beyond Eyes- An emotional journey in search of a friend

Adventure games come in many forms. Some take us across an exotic world, some have us face incredible dangers, and all are united in that they have a quest with a goal in mind. Of course that goal varies from title to title, and how we reach that goal is just as varied. Along the way, adventure games can thrill us, entertain us, make us laugh, and even, on occasion, make us cry. These emotional journeys of discovery, when done right, give players a very different gaming experience than the big AAA spectacles. Such a journey comes to us from publisher Team 17 and developer Tiger and Squid in the form of a game called Beyond Eyes.

Beyond Eyes tells the story of Rae, who is blinded in a freak accident one summer evening...

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Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation- Another mission handled successfully by Cruise and co.

Since the franchise started on the big screen in 1996 (the television series ran from 1966-1973), the Mission: Impossible movies have secured their place in the annals of cinematic spy thrillers, with star Tom Cruise leading the way in the role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt. It may has misstepped a little with the 2000 film directed by John Woo (though it did have some stylish action pieces to go along with its ridiculous plot), then regained its footing when J.J. Abrams took the helm for the third outing. The last outing, Ghost Protocol (2011), was ably handled by director Brad Bird. Now Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow) steps in as writer and director. Is the new Mission completed successfully? For the most part the answer to that is yes, yes it is.

The film opens with the...

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King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember- A charming, entertaining interactive animated fable

Let me state right off the bat here that I have never played a King’s Quest game before, though I have played a few other adventure titles, most notably in recent years those coming from Telltale Games. So coming into this sequel/reboot from publisher Sierra and developer The Odd Gentlemen I have a much different perspective than that of longtime fans of the older PC games. And I will say that my introduction to the series was a very pleasant experience, though not without a few minor bumps in the road.

King’s Quest is set up as a serialized chapter game (there will be five chapters in all plus an epilogue), and it tells the story of Graham, and how he came to be King...

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jla gods and monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters- Not your parents Trinity

DC Comics has long had a multiverse for their heroes to play in, and in some of these “alternate realities” writers were able to play with characters outside of main title continuity. Thus we were able to get such Elseworlds stories like Gotham by Gaslight, where Batman visits Victorian London during the time of Jack the Ripper, or Superman: Red Son, where the Man of Steel was raised by Russian farmers in the Soviet Union instead of the Kents in Kansas. These stories turned tropes on their heads and gave us an alternate look at iconic characters in a way they might have been had their origins been a bit different. Now the DC Animated universe gives us one of these Elseworld stories in the form of Justice League: Gods and Monsters.

Working from a story by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Se...

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Journey the PS4 experience- Still magical three years later

When thatgamecompany released Journey onto the PS3 in 2012, critics and gamers alike took to the simple yet enchanting trek across the sands to a light in a distant mountain. It topped many Game of the Year lists that year, despite it being an indie title and not an extravagant, action packed AAA game. For many the two hour experience (and be assured, it is more of an experience than a game) transcended those found in other games, running players through a gamut of emotions, from curiosity to wonder to fear to sadness and then to joy. It was profound in itself when you took the journey alone, but it gained even more should you happen upon a companion...

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ethan carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter- A mystery that’s both rewarding and frustrating

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of those rare games that separates itself from the pack in offering players no hand holding. While many will say this is a good thing, there is such a thing as going a bit too far. It would be one thing if the game had you uncover clues to point you in the right direction. That would at least give you some idea as to where to go or what to do next. But developer The Astronauts offers no such coddling. It’s completely up to the player to explore and find his way, even though that means by the end the player may have to backtrack to find something he missed. You need to find everything for the game to trigger the ending, which, while decent, isn’t so fantastic that it feels rewarding for making you backtrack...

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