Firewatch Promises, but Doesn’t Follow Through

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

The Division Delivers But Only in Fits and Starts

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 Scratches That Saints Row Itch

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

Talking Up a Storm in Firewatch

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

Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2

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

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a Great PC Port if You Have the Rig for It

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

Testing the Division Beta on PC

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