I bought Firewatch a few months ago when it went on sale. I’d been really looking forward to the game before it came out because I loved all of the promotional art, and I was hoping that it might deliver a gaming experience that matched that obviously high level of design.
However, the initial reviews were a bit lukewarm, so I didn’t pick it up immediately when it came out. When I did finally buy it, it sat on my PS4 unplayed for a few months because I have more games than I have time to play them. (This is also true about books, movies and TV shows, much to my annoyance; if I could freeze time, I’d use my powers to catch up on pop culture.)
I finally played through the game a few weeks ago, and I can definitely see why the reactions were so mixed. It’s gorgeous to look at, and it’s am ambitious hybrid of storytelling and interaction, but unfortunately all of that good work is undermined by flawed storytelling. I’m going to go into nitty-gritty spoilers here, so if you care about such things, now is the time to stop reading. Continue reading Firewatch Promises, but Doesn’t Follow Through
Tom Clancy’s The Division, a game about American sleeper agents taking back New York after a brutal viral outbreak, released at the beginning of March after one of the most prolonged hype cycles in recent memory. I’ve played a decent amount of the Division, completed the story and found every single collectible (all 290 something of them). I’ve fought tons of bullet sponge enemies and spent minutes scratch my head over whether some gear is better than others thanks to the somewhat impenetrable item stats.
The Division is getting a significant patch next week that is adding an end-game activity called Incursions and bringing in sweeping changes to loot, crafting and a whole bunch of other stuff. This impression covers everything pre-patch and some of my feedback might be addressed come release, but this is what I thought of The Division during the first month of its life. Continue reading The Division Delivers But Only in Fits and Starts
Sunset Overdrive definitely wasn’t on my radar when I bought an Xbox One. I vaguely remember seeing ads for the game when it first came out, but forgot about it almost immediately.
That all changed a few weeks ago when I heard rumblings that Sunset Overdrive was actually a pretty great game. Around that same time, Amazon put it on sale for $15, and you can guess the rest. A few days later I had it in my hot little hands.
If you’re a long-time reader of this site, you may remember how much Saints Row 3 surprised and delighted me when I finally got around to playing it. Sunset Overdrive gave me that feeling all over again. It’s in the same absurdist action-comedy wheelhouse, and it feels fresher than the fourth Saints Row game.
Continue reading Sunset Overdrive Scratches That Saints Row Itch
When faced with adversity, most of us would like to imagine that we would face our problems head on and confront them. In reality though, the most appealing path is to get as far away from your issues as possible and hope that the distance means you won’t have to deal with it, at least for a little while.
This is the case in Firewatch, a first person adventure mystery game from Campo Santo. In the Summer of 1989, playable character Henry takes a temporary job as a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, far away from civilization and his own personal hangups back in Colorado. Continue reading Talking Up a Storm in Firewatch
Over the weekend I’ve played a generous amount of XCOM 2, and I’ve also restarted after 10 hours into my first playthrough. I’ve named soldiers, customized them and watched the die to hilariously biased random number generation (RNG) and pulled off more than a few clutch victories. But for all of that, I’m just not enjoying my time with XCOM 2 all that much.
20 years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in which the alien invasion was successful, you and your ragtag band of resistance fighters are striking back against the extraterrestrial overlords that control Earth. XCOM 2 flips the formula a bit by making you the invading force and you start most missions with a concealment bonus. You can actually plot ambushes this time, a welcome change from the free move the aliens would get when you encountered them in the first game. Continue reading Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2
A mere three months after its exclusive Xbox One release, Rise of the Tomb Raider has arrived on the PC bringing the rebooted Lara Croft’s mass-murdering rampages to PC players everywhere.
On the scale of PC ports from Arkham Knight to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Rise of the Tomb Raider falls closer to the latter, but it still requires a beefy rig to get the most out of it. The minimum requirements are pretty forgiving (i3 or equivilant, 2GB GPU) aside from the 6GB of RAM, which is quite the ask for most builds. For reference, I’m running an i7-2770k, 16GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX 980. Despite the taxing nature of the game I ran it on the highest quality with nary a dip below 60 fps aside from a couple areas at the end when everything was popping off – fire, lighting, multiple enemies, collapsing geometry, you name it. Continue reading Rise of the Tomb Raider is a Great PC Port if You Have the Rig for It
This past weekend the Division beta finally gave us a glimpse into the long-gestating title that Massive has been working on. The hype train for The Division has been a long and strange one and it felt good to finally get my hands on the game.
While the beta was fairly limited to one mission and the Dark Zone, I had an awesome time taking on the gangs throughout New York and going rogue against others agents to steal their loot. I played on PC and the game was fairly well optimized for a Ubisoft-published title. While there was some concerns about the “bullet-sponge” nature of the enemies from pre-beta impressions, I didn’t really notice it too much at the time. Continue reading Testing the Division Beta on PC
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is the greatest action-stealth game I’ve ever played. Every aspect of the gameplay in Hideo Kojima’s farewell to the series he’s been heading up for over 25 years is tight, responsive and open to wild degrees of experimentation. So often in Metal Gear Solid 5 you’ll think up some crazy way to test the game’s systems and more often than not it will work. Extract yourself out of a hot zone by holding on to a fulton balloon on top of a shipping container? Want to use the tape of someone pooping to stop soldiers from investigating the outhouse you’re hiding in? Go for it.
The beauty of Metal Gear Solid 5’s gameplay is that nearly everyone will have a different story to tell about how they engaged with a certain mission or took down a base. This is the best feeling Metal Gear game to play by a large margin. Gone are the archaic controls and the contorted claw shapes you would have to twist your hand into to do something simple like aiming down a weapon’s sights. When you are in the open world of Afghanistan or central Africa, you really feel like you can make the legend of Big Boss come to life. Continue reading The Amazing Open World and Lackluster Narrative of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Over the weekend I put a decent amount of time into Sniper Elite 3, Rebellion’s latest foray into the realm of shooting a lot of Nazis (and Italian soldiers!) in the face and testicles in slow motion, and I have to say I’m digging it quite a bit.
I’d describe Sniper Elite 3 as a “rough diamond” of sorts. The folks at Rebellion have done a great job of making a fun stealth title and if you like sniping then this is definitely the game for you. Just be aware that there are a few hiccups that might detract from your experience. Continue reading The Visible, Violent Deaths of Sniper Elite 3
I’ve had this weird sort of fascination with Destiny ever since Bungie first released news about it. There’s one part of me that feels a tinge of regret whenever I see it in motion, knowing that I could have been involved with it in some way (a job opportunity that ultimately didn’t pan out for me). Another part of me has moved on from multiplayer games almost entirely—other priorities have taken precedence in my life, including family, writing and friends. And even though videos of the game in motion never quite thrilled me, there was something about the game that I found intriguing.
And the Alpha won me over completely. Continue reading A Whole New World: Destiny Alpha Impressions
Over the weekend I played a healthy amount of Mario Kart 8 and I can firmly say that this is the most fun I’ve had with the series in a long time. This game feels like a perfect evolution for the series with new features that make sense and a lot of returning mechanics from the previous games that are implemented in clever ways. The new hover segments, where the tires on your vehicle turn sideways and you float a foot or so off the ground, manages to feel like an integral part of how you play in Mario Kart 8 and not just a new gimmick to put on the back of the box. Hovering turns the gameplay on its head, sometimes literally, and forces you to think differently, like purposely bumping into other races to get a speed boost instead of avoiding them.
It helps that Mario Kart 8 is an amazing looking game and even in local two-player splitscreen it still delivers a 60 frame per second performance. Across the eight different cups are 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 returning and all have been tweaked to take full advantage of the different modes of transportation. In one race alone you might be underwater, gliding through the air and hovering upside down. Mario Kart 8 keeps you constantly engaged by changing up the progression of the race so you never feel like you’re just going through the motions. The soundtrack is nearly fully orchestrated this time and is a huge improvement over the music of Mario Kart Wii. Continue reading The Sheer Joy of Mario Kart 8
It’s been a good ten years since we last saw a Mario Golf game, but longtime Nintendo sports collaborators Camelot are at it again with Mario Golf: World Tour, a 3DS title that came out on May 2.
The Mario Golf games have either been strictly arcade-like or had some light RPG aspects and World Tour seems to straddle both of these disciplines. Playing as your Mii in the “Castle Club” mode, you use the tried-and-true power bar to control your shots and for each course you complete (whether it’s a practice round or a tournament), you unlock a new piece of stat-altering gear in the pro shop which you can put on your golfer. Continue reading Taking a Swing at Mario Golf: World Tour
This post was written by my girlfriend, Laura, who is a long-time gamer. She mostly plays on Nintendo platforms, but enjoys the occasional iOS title as well. She’s currently working as a web developer and enjoys many nerdy things including Doctor Who. You can follow her on her Twitter account, @euphorialjc.
Monument Valley is a charming iOS puzzle game from a London developer called ustwo. It was released last Thursday (April 3) and features levels inspired by MC Escher drawings.
The game is fairly short, with a very minimal story and only 10 levels, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for with beautifully crafted sound and crisp, colorful visuals that feel almost reminiscent of TGC’s 2012 hit, Journey. Each level could easily stand alone as a fantastic piece of art for your living room, and there is something very smooth and serene about how the levels move and shift as you work your way through its puzzles and optical illusions. Continue reading The Impossible Architecture of Monument Valley
An unusual three-man assortment of Anthony, Jeff and Nick head up the GamerSushi Show this week as Eddy and I were off discussing shirtless Henry Cavill, because really, why wouldn’t you?
Despite wavering for a moment in to Extra Bytes territory, the gang rights the Sushi ship and talks about Amazon’s recently unveiled Fire TV, some Dark Souls 2 and Nick’s experience with his new PlayStation 4.
Show these guys some love by listening, rating and coming back next time. Auf Wiedersehen!
0:00 – 1:06 Intro
1:07 – 22:05 Amazon’s Fire TV
22:06 – 26:22 Dark Souls 2
26:23 – 47:12 Nick buys a PlayStation 4
47:13 – 49:33 Outro
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Polygon has a fantastic write-up about Alien: Isolation, a first person horror attempt at bringing the Alien franchise back to its roots. While most games try to emulate the space marines feel of James Cameron flick, Isolation plays with your expectations and pits you against one single-minded killing xenomorph.
I will never play this game because I am a wuss, but it sounds awesome.
We’re back from a one-week break with another GamerSushi Show. Nick skips out on this cast, but I’d like to think that the rest of us more than make of for the lack of his bearded tones.
For topics, we talk the Titanfall Beta, the Xbox One’s recent price cut in the UK and the closure of Irrational Games. We then cap it off with what we’re playing.
Alright, listen, rate and we’ll see you next time!
0:00 – 12:41 Intro
12:42 – 32:25 Titanfall Beta
32:36 – 37:59 Xbox One price cuts in UK
37:60 – 46:35 Ken Levine closes Irrational Games
46:36 – 1:05:22 What we’re playing
1:05:23 – 1:07:55 Outro
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One of my favorite games on the DS, 999 was a mystery game that placed 9 people on a cruise ship to solve Saw-type puzzles. If you could stand to read lots of text, it proved to be a gripping, heart-pounding visual novel that really knew how to tease your brain. Zero Escape, its sequel, is no different, and in many ways might be better than the original.
As I’ve been playing Zero Escape, however, I’m noticing something about myself as a gamer these days. Continue reading Zero Escape and Replayability
There’s a certain kind of crafting that I dig when I play games. Hunting animals to craft bigger weapons and pouches to hold more ammo to kill even bigger animals? Sign me up. Huddling in the dark and crafting that one tool I need to barely make it through the next night, while monsters press in all around me? Not so much.
This is part of why I avoided Don’t Starve for so long, despite hearing nothing but good things from just about everyone that’s ever played it. Since Klei’s roguelike survival simulator with an art style right out of a Tim Burton movie went up on PSN Plus this weekend, I thought I would give it a try. And I’m glad I did. Continue reading Crafting Fun with Don’t Starve
To give you a peek into the inner workings here at GamerSushi, we recently discussed the fact that there are several prominent games out there that we haven’t actually reviewed yet. Like, for example, Grand Theft Auto V, which landed a solid #12 in our list of the top 20 games of the last generation. We are aware of the oversight, we are, and we hope to make amends soonish. Personally, I planned to start my attack on un-reviewed games by diving into one of my recent purchases, The Stanley Parable by Galactic Cafe. I figured it’d be both quick to play and reasonably timely. It’s still a fairly new game, after all.
Accordingly, late one night I sat down with The Stanley Parable and played it for about an hour and a half. I think I beat it. In fact, I may have beaten it several dozen times. I’m honestly not entirely sure. I am sure, however, that I haven’t experienced everything the game has to offer. It’s hilarious, confusing, surreal and nearly impossible to summarize. Part of the reason summaries won’t do it justice is that the experience is built entirely around the fact that you are playing a game and bringing certain expectations to the table.
Continue reading This is Not a Review of The Stanley Parable… or is it?
It’s a new episode of (presumably) one of your favorite video game podcasts. We’ve got a full crew this week because Nick is jobless and that’s what you do when you don’t have to work. Podcast and play video games.
In case you haven’t heard enough about it, we talk GTA 5, including Nick’s impressions of the single player game and some online anecdotes. Then we talk Assassin’s Creed IV’s meta-narrative, some fields of battle, the newest Call of Duty and some next-gen stuff. It’s a pretty good show.
So, you know what to do. Listen, rate and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do. See you next time!
0:00 – 1:29 Intro
1:30 – 17:27 GTA 5
17:28 – 27: 20 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
27:21 – 36:44 Battlefield 4
36:45 – 46:13 PlayStation 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts
46:14 – 48:29 The Walking Dead: Season 2
48:30 – 57:41 The Stanley Parable
57:42 – 1:00:47 Outro
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