Use Your Words is the latest in Xbox One party games, but it is by no means the best. Its lack of variety makes the experience repetitive and boring after only a few games. Furthermore, while Use Your Words is priced cheaper than other party games on Xbox Live, its competitors have greater variety, depth, and replay value.
Bulletstorm is still as good as it ever was. It's fast, fluid, highly vulgar, and incredibly addictive. In a world of hyper-serious shooters, Bulletstorm stands out as an oasis of non-serious fun and is head-and-shoulders above its competition... Duke included. Fans of shooters who missed out in 2011 are highly encouraged to pick up this remaster as it is going to be the best way to play through the exploits of Grayson, Ishi, and Trishka. That being said, if you've already played the original and aren't aching to be knee deep in viscera and vulgarity, there's not a lot here to encourage a second go, especially at the current price point.
With throwback games being all the rage in independent development, many developers have chosen to go the 8/16-bit, pixelated, "ain't this cute?" route to tap into nostalgia while bringing along more modern systems and mechanics. Chime Sharp goes the opposite route; it may look like a modern game, but it feels like an older game in the best ways possible. With its highly accessible gameplay style and a difficult-to-master level of play, Chime Sharp is an easy endorsement for virtually all gamers.
Slain ticks off the boxes as a serviceable homage to old school action-platformers. It has relatively tight controls and gameplay and has that 80's/90's difficulty that will make elder millennials jaunt down memory lane. The lack of depth and unreliable technical aspects limit Slain's fun factor, while the writing aims to be both cheesy and Gothic, but cannot serve both masters and ultimately fails. Finally, the achievements... ugh... just don't go there. If you're aching for a throwback to Belmont's heyday and don't care about your achievement ratio, give Slain a shot, but otherwise, give it a pass and catch some z's.
Much like "The Taken King" before it, avid fans of Destiny are already playing "Rise of Iron" and enjoying the new content. If you're one of the few shooter fans who hasn't tried Destiny yet, the value added by "Rise of Iron" makes the new Destiny - The Collection an easy recommendation as well. Those things being said, "Rise of Iron" feels thin in content and quality, especially when compared to last year's "The Taken King".
Dear Esther is a boring slog with little narrative payoff. Although it does encourage an ideal of "interpret as you will", it lacks the foundation and support to drive discussions of death, life, and grief to the point to which it strives. Fortunately, the experience is short, cheap, and a good boost to an achievement score, but beyond that, is worth a pass.
Lovely Planet is a throwback to the 80s/90s when games were a test of skill, patience, and determination. That being said, its bare bones design and technical and design hiccups make it all the more frustrating. If you're in search of a game to play "pass the controller" with in a group of shooter-loving friends, Lovely Planet may be worth checking out, but is otherwise easily worth a pass.
At this juncture, we know what to expect out of a Telltale experience: less-than-solid gameplay that is balanced out by an amazing story. That being said, Game of Thrones, while a solid Telltale experience, has limited appeal. The Venn diagram of interest is flatly composed of people who love Game of Thrones with people who like/tolerate Telltale's experiences. If you love Game of Thrones and enjoy Telltale's previous offerings, you shouldn't hesitate to pick up the game. If you're someone who loves Westeros but dislikes Telltale's style, you might want to give the game a shot, if only to get another hit of Thrones before you find out what really happened to Jon Snow. On the other hand, if you don't know a Crow from a raven, you should probably give it a pass.
Crystal Dynamics had great success in rebooting Tomb Raider back in 2013. Rise of the Tomb Raider takes another positive step forward and continues the development of Lara Croft while providing another solid adventure. Unfortunately, the combat controls feel clunky and the story stretches an homage to Indiana Jones almost to the breaking point. That being said, there is a good bit of fun to be had in climbing, swinging, and exploring, but in a fall populated by heavy hitters, Rise of the Tomb Raider can probably wait for a more fallow time in your gaming calendar.
After filing our initial review of Destiny last year, I said that the experience lacked soul, put the game aside, and felt I wouldn't be coming back. Around the beginning of the summer I needed a game that I could pick up and play for about 30-45 minutes at a time and jumped back in. Before I knew it I was hooked, playing the DLC content, running Strikes, rolling a second (and now third!) character. "The Taken King" and Destiny 2.0 have taken that experience to a new height that is worth diving back into for old players and warrants the price of investment (into the new Legendary Edition) for new players. Bungie has put in so many small, new tweaks and wrinkles that it will take dozens of hours before you'll see and do everything. Destiny is not perfect and is still a grind that is best experienced with friends, but the addition of new and repackaged content fleshes out the experience to a point where it becomes an easy recommendation for shooter fans.
My niece was right, it is easier to go through a game mercilessly slaughtering anyone that gets in your way. It's even fun. The true magic of Dishonored, however, is that you don't need to. The process of teleporting to a high ledge, sneaking up behind an enemy, choking them out, finding a place to stash the body, and then repeating is so highly addictive that it should be illegal. Each level and mission is constructed like a perfect puzzle with a dozen perfect solutions and each player can dabble to find which one works best for them. Dishonored may be the perfect stealth game in that it doesn't penalize you for not being stealthy, but rewards you greater for delicate care and skill. While the Definitive Edition may not have the greatest degree of new shine on new consoles, it still is the edition of the game to own if you didn't get in on the last-gen version.
While combining the innovative nature of the Kinect with the use of a controller is a noble goal that more developers should strive for, Commander Cherry's Puzzle Quest is an unmitigated disaster that takes the worst parts of Kinect games and platforming and mashes them together. If the terrible Kinect scanning doesn't get you, the horrible platforming controls will. While some may find fun in the challenge, the game should be passed on by all but the most ardent of Kinect fans.
At this juncture, fans who've bought into this game series owe it to themselves to see it through, but I can't help but feel that Telltale is imitating the tantalizing and oft-parodied abuse of GRRM all too well. With the constant second guessing, heart-breaking choices, and general feeling of dread and terribleness, it's hard to see a positive outcome around the corner for the series... but that's to be expected. This is Game of Thrones, and when you play the game you either win or you die. With one episode left, I'd say that proposition is about a 50-50 bet.
The quality and quantity of the content in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are beyond compare and without peer. It is now the gold standard to which all other RPGs will be held. With hundreds of hours of rich, detailed story, a plethora of side quests, incredible aesthetic design, deep combat systems, and unprecedented sense of place and character, it checks off all of the boxes for excellence in the genre. Those plaudits come at a price, though, as the game can be a technical grab bag of minor (and major) bugs and glitches. While there is little doubt that CD Projekt RED will be giving the game consistent patch and DLC support to smooth out the majority of these marks, you can only buff out the dents in the horrific control scheme so much. Fortunately, these technical gripes and moments of mechanical frustration are easy to overlook when examining the experience as a whole. This is a game that should not be missed by RPG fans, should be tried by curious gamers, and will be looked back upon as one of the best ever. Consider it a must play and say goodbye to your summer.
While we have two episodes left in the season/series, fans of the franchise know that there are going to be a few more downs and downs coming, but "Episode 4" grants a brief respite of optimism in a jaded, borderline nihilistic world. It stands as the high point of the series thus far and goes a long way to cement the experience as a "must play" for fans of Game of Thrones.
Like Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon before it, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood sets a new standard for standalone, downloadable content. At $19.99 (or your regional equivalent), it represents one of the best values in current games. Between the 8-10 hour campaign full of fantastic moments and scenarios, the challenge maps, and the nightmare levels there's a lot to love for the money. While the massive file size (over 37 GB!) may cause some internet connections to cry, it is well worth the space in your Xbox One's hard drive. The New Order was one of the underground hits of 2014, and The Old Blood has taken that torch and ran with it. Get psyched and consider it a must play.
It needs to be said; WE ARE DOOMED is a perfectly playable game. It works well, completionist achievement gripes aside, and gives fans of twin-stick shooters another option for their library, but aside from that is completely disposable. It presents no new ideas, no new takes on the formula, and simply iterates where others have sought to innovate. Unless you're one of the most ravenous twin-stick fans on the planet, this is easily worth a pass.
If "Episode 2" felt like "a letdown" that was setting up the next episode, "Episode 3" feels like a rush of despair and anger (in a good way) that makes the desire for retribution and justice all the more burning. Fans of the franchise know that such satisfaction is rare (and possibly non-existent), but it doesn't make the yearning for it any less fun.