Articles in the Review Category

Review: Watch Dogs

3 Jul 2014 | Posted by | No Comment

watch dogs review

Nothing screamed “the next gen is here” more than Ubisoft’s E3 2012 stage reveal of Watch Dogs. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One weren’t even revealed yet, but everyone knew what Watch Dogs was heralding when Ubisoft showed it off for the first time.

Two years and one delay later, we finally get to hack the mean streets of Chicago. Is Watch Dogs a next gen standard bearer or does it barely straddle the line between the last generation and this one?

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Review: Titanfall

10 Apr 2014 | Posted by | Comments Off

titanfall review

The tumultuous fracturing of Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward in 2010 represented a significant shift in the first person shooter landscape. Free from Activision, IW founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella and a team of former employees founded Respawn Entertainment and joined forces with EA to create a new franchise.

The result of that union is Titanfall, a multiplayer-only FPS where players can control either the agile Pilots or utilize one of three giant robot suits, called Titans, to duke it out. With a massive groundswell of anticipation surging it to the forefront of the collective gamer consciousness, is Titanfall the new king of first person shooters?

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Review: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

18 Mar 2014 | Posted by | Comments Off

assassins creed 4 black flag review

After 2012’s less-than-stellar entry, the Assassin’s Creed series seemed poised to spend the last few years of its life cycle fighting irrelevancy. While Assassin’s Creed 3 might have sold well, it turned off a lot of people, myself (an admittedly hardcore fan of the franchise) included. Half-baked mechanics, buggy presentation and a bland protagonist were all parts of the gumbo of disappointment that was AC3.

Not long after that game released, Ubisoft announced a follow-up that would take place in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. The new protagonist would be Edward Kenway, father and grandfather to the Assassin’s Creed 3 playable characters Haytham and Connor, respectively. With a game poised to take advantage of the naval combat introduced in AC3, could Black Flag right the ship?

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Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

5 Feb 2014 | Posted by | No Comment

Batman Arkham Origins

When Warner Bros announced the next game in the acclaimed Arkham franchise would be a preequel, the reaction was mixed. When they announced that Rocksteady would not be returning for the prequel, instead handing the reins to Warner Bros Games Montreal, the reaction was negative. It felt like a cash-grab, a stop-gap while Rocksteady worked on whatever would follow the brilliant Arkham City. Was this reaction premature or right on the money? Read on to find out.

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Review: Battlefield 4

22 Jan 2014 | Posted by | No Comment

battlefield 4 review

While the notion of destructible environments and the real-time evolution of a map has been around since 2008’s Bad Company, Battlefield 4 takes this concept and makes it grandiose in its execution, giving us the type of destruction that was taken out of Battlefield 3 and adding in “Levolution”, events that change the way a given map plays and feels.

Running on a new version of the Frostbite engine and having an increased number of moving parts, does Battlefield 4 stride proudly across the gaming landscape or does it collapse under its own weight?

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Review: Beyond: Two Souls

14 Jan 2014 | Posted by | One Comment

Beyond Jody

Is it a game? Is it interactive fiction? These are the questions that inevitably surround a David Cage release. It happened with Heavy Rain and again with Beyond: Two Souls. It’s clearly a game, but is it fun and worth your time? That’s the question and the purpose of this review.

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Review: Super Mario 3D World

3 Jan 2014 | Posted by | No Comment

super mario 3d world review

There’s something sublime about a 3D Mario game. Whether its the subconscious association with Super Mario 64 or the fact that almost every 3D Mario is really damned good (I put in the caveat for those Sunshine haters) you can’t deny that putting a Mario game into your system is a recipe for a nostalgic smile.

Super Mario 3D World does what 3D Mario games have been doing for the past while: taking an established formula and adding on just enough twists and tricks to make something really unique. While this particular series might have started on the 3DS, this Wii U sequel truly shines.

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Review: Pokemon X/Y

20 Nov 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

pokemon x and y review

When Nintendo released the 3DS in 2011, everyone knew a Pokemon game for that system wouldn’t be too far behind. Game Freak ended up releasing two more Pokemon games for the DS (Black 2 and White 2) in 2012, but those were just holdovers.

The first Pokemon games on the Nintendo 3DS have been released, bringing Pokemon into a whole new dimension. With updated art, new features and a new region, how does Pokemon X and Y fare?

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Review: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

19 Sep 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

animal crossing new leaf review

In my 26 years of existence, I didn’t think I’d ever feel bad for standing up a tiny animal made of pixels in a fake video game world, but I did. I said I would be at their house at 6:30 pm, but I missed it, leaving them looking crestfallen and disappointed in me. I felt more than a little ashamed.

This is what Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS has done to me. Let’s review the damn thing.

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Review: The Last of Us

29 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

the last of us review

While Naughty Dog might be more well known for the Uncharted series when this generation is said and done, the buzz that surrounded The Last of Us before release was monumental.

Having journeyed across the fungus-infected zombie plagued United States of America, Anthony and Mitch are tackling The Last of Us in a dual review. Or will it be more of a duel review?

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Review: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

24 Jun 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

luigis mansion dark moon review

Luigi’s Mansion was a bit of a cult hit on the GameCube, and fans of Mario’s scaredy-cat brother have been anticipating his return to ghost-busting for years.

Luigi is back with his paranormal vacuum-cleaner, but this time he’s on the 3DS. How does his newest adventure fare?

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Review: Fire Emblem Awakening

31 May 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

Fire Emblem Awakening Feature

The Nintendo 3DS has had some great games in the past few months with one of the most notable being Fire Emblem Awakening. Having a love-affair with strategy games and being a Fire Emblem virgin, I was anxious to delve into the game and see what all the fuss was about.

The Story

The story of Fire Emblem is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off in an interesting, if cliched fashion: your custom avatar wakes up in a field with amnesia. Now, I know what you’re thinking but stick with me, the story gets better. Having been found by Chrom, the prince of the kingdom of Ylissia, and his companions, you help them in defending the countryside from marauders, eventually joining them in the greater struggles that await. These struggles range from demonic Risen to all manner of political intrigue and attemped coups. Chrom’s sister rules the kingdom and he enforces her rule, but there are neighboring nations that have nefarious plans of their own, all of which give you a reason to do what you do best: fight some battles and kick some ass. The story encompasses everything from bandits to time travel to world-ending dragons, so there should be something in here that appeals to everyone.

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Review: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

1 May 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

far cry 3 blood dragon review

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon seems like one of those games that never should have happened. After the main game went out the door, a small team at Ubisoft was given the basic framework of Far Cry 3 and a very short time frame to turn in an expansion pack.

What we got out of that is a mishmash of every single 80s movie staring Michael Biehn and featuring giant lizards that shoot lasers out of their eyes. Roll your D20s, nerds, it’s time to review Blood Dragon.

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Review: Gears of War: Judgement

4 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

gears of war judgement review

Gears of War: Judgement was met with an appropriate amount of skepticism when it was announced last year. With the Gears trilogy proper having just wrapped up the October before hand, was it really necessary to give us a prequel?

Epic Games’ subsidiary studio, People Can Fly, took this challenge on and brought their own twist to the Gears formula. Can a competitive scoring mode and gameplay-altering challenges help Gears of War: Judgement feel fresh?

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Review: Bioshock Infinite

2 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Bioshock Infinite review

Hype. It has been the pitfall of many a game and it can appear at anytime from any number of sources. An amazing trailer, such as Dead Island. A genius auteur, like Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear Solid series. A storied franchise, like Final Fantasy. All have been the focal point of an intense wave of hype and anticipation and all, at various points, have failed to live up to the near-unattainable level of quality that the gaming masses expected.

The almost-ravenous desire for Bioshock Infinite stems from all three of the sources mentioned above. At E3 in 2010, a clever trailer brought the world’s eye upon the game for the first time. Ken Levine, the man behind the first Bioshock, itself heralded as one of the greatest achievements in gaming, was back with a brand new game, set in a brand new world with promises to blow our minds as thoroughly as Andrew Ryan did in Rapture. Then the reviews started to come in, garnering some of the most lavish praise ever bestowed upon a video game. The hype was out of control. Surely there is no way a game can live up to this kind of fervor. Bioshock Infinite is going to disappoint us just like so many of the ones that came before.

It does not.

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Review: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

28 Mar 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

ni no kuni review

In an era where ever game is so self-serious, it’s kind of refreshing to see a title that basks in whimsy. Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is such a game. It fairly oozes with clever environment design and goofy, pun-filled dialogue.

Traditionally, I don’t truck with JRPGs. Not because I actively dislike them, or anything, but they never really clicked with me. That said, Ni no Kuni is an experience that wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket and drew me in. Let’s get down to specifics, though, shall we?

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Review: Tomb Raider

21 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider’s 2013 reboot from Crystal Dynamics comes with a lot of expectations up front. Lara Croft and Tomb Raider have been a huge part of gaming and pop culture since the first game was released in 1996. The original series spans a total of nine(!) games including the Anniversary remake, all of which stick to a fairly standard formula: rich, buxom Croft runs around underdressed in ancient tombs, shooting things and solving puzzles.

That formula combined with total media saturation in the late 90s and early ‘aughts meant that Tomb Raider slowly but surely slid into the realm of disappointing sales and irrelevance. If any game franchise was due for a complete overhaul, Tomb Raider is it. Gritty reboots are fashionable these days, but does that mean you should give Tomb Raider the time of day?

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Review: SimCity

14 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

sim city review

Anthony

My city, Trampa, started off well: I kept my industrial zones far away and downwind of my residential areas with a nice buffer of commercial zones between them. My city was low on natural resources, so I decided to focus on gambling and tourism. Being from Florida, it only made sense to apply my native expertise to Trampa. My first casino was moderately successful, but when I added some resort rooms and blackjack tables, it was pulling in over $15,000 a day. My second casino, located on the other side of town, was equally successful. My city was booming and I built an exo and held events, earning over $100,000 a night! Trampa was on the map and without building a monorail! Then, out of nowhere, things took a turn. My budget was in the red, citizens started leaving. My once robust casinos were losing twice what they used to make per day! Things fell apart and without any explanation.

Having perused the Internet, the now-known pathfinding bugs and traffic errors are what I think are the culprits. I built a bus station that was closer to the highway than the casino was, which is why all the tourists and shoppers stopped frequenting the casino. I did what I could to save my city, destroying the industrial sector altogether and making room for more homes and businesses, but nothing worked. Eddy’s city was having sewage problems, so I had to build my own sewage plants, causing ground pollution in the middle of a commercial zone. My airport was desolate and my expo was a ghost town. This was after about 5 hours of playtime, at Llama speed (cheetah speed has been disabled because it breaks stuff). No space in my city to expand, residents fleeing, budget is in the red. I turned off services, built some parks and shockingly, things turned around. I went from 37,000 citizens to 73,000, with barely any effort at all. It made no sense. I was being told to zone homes because workers were needed, but also that unemployment was high.

It made no sense. None of it did. My city is an illogical puzzle built on an infrastructure of lies. For about 4 hours, it was supremely addictive, almost intoxicating in the joy it gave me. Now I wish I had my $60 back so I could play Tomb Raider for 10 hours. SimCity is not a game I recognize anymore. I’ve bought bad games in the past, but I’ve never felt screwed before. EA and SimCity just popped that cherry. And all I can do is hug myself in shame, wondering what might have been.

sim city review

Eddy

Once I could finally play SimCity, I was excited. Having spent some time with the Beta a few months back, during the server fiasco I always like once people could play the game, they’d get over it and be happy with the amazing treat that was waiting for them. For the whole first week of SimCity, I couldn’t find my way into a game until 4 days after release, and even then my time was sparing. But even in those first couple of nights of play, I started to notice a few issues, namely with the way social interactions are handled.

For one, the game seems to require two people to be in the same server at the same time before you can even invite a friend to your region. This may not be the exact case, but who knows with how wonky the game’s network has been. But when I attempted to invite a friend, it was a 40 minute process while he logged onto the server (not always reliable) and then was forced to play through the tutorial again, since the server considered him a new player. On top of that, I had to log out of my own game in order to invite him – and couldn’t log back in when I was done since the server was busy. How these kinds of issues are even possible in 2013, I could never tell you. It reminds me of being back in Quake 2 or CS 1.3, writing down server IPs and sending instant messages or calling friends so we could try to meet up. Except worse.

But that’s not even getting to the game, which I noticed was behaving strangely after just a few hours of play. Utilities didn’t seem to work the way they were supposed to, with houses and businesses unable to receive water or electricity. Nobody seemed to shop at the casino on the other side of town, even though I had plenty of public transportation. The game always thought I needed more workers to fill jobs, more industrial zones even though I had zones without factories being built on them, more shops and then some, without any explanation or any results when I made changes. Come to find out, the game has some major traffic and population glitches that are virtually game breaking once your city starts to grow. This makes sense, seeing as how my first few hours with the game were bliss… and everything after that has been one giant bug jam.

I wanted to love this game, and I keep hoping for a patch. But right now, it’s one of the worst video game purchases I’ve ever made, and I’m deeply regretting the fact that I can’t get a refund for it.

sim city review

Mitch

SimCity starts out with hope and promise, the tantalizing view of a city packed with skyscrapers barely visible from the shores of your town hinting at better days to come. Building you city from the ground up and watching it sprout its first highrises is the single shining spot on this shallow, deceptive, broken mess of a game.

I knew something was fishy when I had to meta-game my sewer outflow pipes to prevent them from overflowing while I waited for enough money to build a sewer treatment plant. Instead of dividing the task of pumping out crud between the two facilities, I was having to close one and open the other when the amount of sewage they were trying to handle was too much. Even when I built my treatment plant I kept one pipe open just in case, but the way that Glass Box handles “agents” meant that it would always try and go to the nearest applicable service, regardless of how ready and willing my shiny new plant was.

This is just one example of the dozens of ways SimCity’s facade broke while I was playing it. My Sims protested germs and crime at my City Hall while over-staffed police stations and hospitals and clinics sat unused. My biggest frustration came from upgrading roads to handle increased density. The game’s tutorial doesn’t tell you how to use the road upgrade tool, and even when I figured that out I still had to tear up most of my roads so I could build even bigger ones.

SimCity constantly tries to hold your hand, but given the way that nothing works the way it’s supposed to, your advisers yelling at you to zone for more high-wealth residential comes across as a slap in the face. Your city will scream at you for dwellings and services you have in spades that they just can’t get to because Glass Box can’t figure out what to do with itself. Even hours after I built a ferry terminal, Sim thought bubbles were popping up telling me how much they wanted one.

You can legitimately build a city consisting of nothing but amphitheaters and high-density housing with one single road. This isn’t a simulation game, it’s a battle against fundamentally broken mechanics.

GamerSushi Grade:

F

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Review: Crysis 3

7 Mar 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

crysis 3 review

After six years and hundreds of over-taxed PCs, the Crysis series is coming to a head with its third installment. Running on a new version of the CryEngine, the latest entry in the franchise takes you back to New York to finally unravel the mystery of the Ceph and the nature of their connection to the main character, Prophet.

With a new weapon, better graphics and even more maximum powers, does Crysis 3 wrap everything up?

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Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

28 Feb 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

aliens colonial marines review

Games with a twisted lineage seems to be Gearbox’s forte. After resurrecting the poorly received Duke Nukem Forever, the studio turned its sights back on Aliens: Colonial Marines, which had been continually delayed since its announcement six years ago.

With rumors of multiple studios involved and pre-release demos that couldn’t possibly represent the real game, is Aliens: Colonial Marines the “true sequel” we were promised, or is it worse than Aliens vs Predator: Requiem?

Editor’s note: Images contained within this review do not accurately represent Aliens: Colonial Marine’s actual graphical style. Look to our forthcoming video review to see what A:CM looks like in action.

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