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Brian Hoss

SecondVariety
SecondVariety
SecondVariety
SecondV

50 games reviewed
82.2 average score
80 median score
86.0% of games recommended
Scores 3.9 higher than average

Writes for:

Brian Hoss's Reviews

Having gone from game development to criticism, Brian's reviews tend to focus on game design. Ultimately, the question is, "is it fun?"
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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

'Infinite Warfare's campaign is can't-miss for any sci-fi warrior, while 'Zombies in Spaceland' is a sweet surprise like late night cable from yesteryear. Nabbing the whole package, including one of the biggest multiplayer draws in gaming, along with a newly spritzed last-gen classic is like a wish list approach for me.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Oct 31, 2016

I went looking for Michael Crichton in 'The Assembly,' but I got stuck on the lowlights. As with many ambitious projects, there is some good stock here. As VR advances, another take 'The Assembly' could realize the promise. What's here, however, just isn't thrilling.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Oct 20, 2016

The meekly named 'PlayStation VR Worlds' rarely escapes its origins as brief demonstrations, but it is certainly worth checking out as part of the greater 'PlayStation VR' launch experience. Some of the five experiences bundled here could make for great fully-realized titles, and failing that, this disc version is ready for any time I might want to show 'PS VR' to others. Plus, the game case makes for a smart place to keep the PlayStation VR cleaning cloth.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Oct 12, 2016

'Skylanders Imaginators - Crash Bandicoot Edition' is the rare special edition worth seeking out, at least for fans of 'Crash' and for the hardcore 'Skylanders' fans and families. The core game is a triumph of what can be done with a character creator that plays out in how the characters play as well as look and sound. I'd expect for anyone to want more Creation Crystals, but getting to share the game with the rest of the family is well worth the few rough spots.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - System Rift' made for a happy surprise and happy return to one of my favorite 2016 games. There is story and gameplay worth having here, but nothing radical like a full-powered Jensen or even new weapons or abilities. Somehow though, 'System Rift' does deliver on content that links the main game with 'Breach.' I'd be happy if the other big DLC, 'A Criminal Past,' can deliver as effectively.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Sep 20, 2016

The worst thing about 'Forza Horizon 3' is that it may have stolen me away from the 'Forza Motorsport' series for good. There's an important freedom to be found in the Australian festival racing, and the land is a gorgeous one when alight or after the rain. For those of us on the HDR train, this is close to must-have demo material, but it's tremendous fun on top of that. Playing casually or with a crazed glint in my eye, 'Forza Horizon 3' is a fantastic playground.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

As a game, 'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided' has the power to draw me in. That's a power seldom seen at this level, where rebellious heroes and evil organizations are a dime a dozen. With enveloping gameplay, a stimulating story, a signature art style, an excellent soundtrack, and the spin-off-worthy Breach Mode, 'Mankind Divided' is well worth the time and expenditure.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Aug 12, 2016

In short bursts, 'No Man's Sky' is amazing, but going deeper, I found only a void. There's a great framework, and an arresting visual style to go with an ease of mobility, but in a short amount of time, I despaired of finding any more interactivity or progression in the all-too-similar horizons and star systems. My search for Nada ended in a whimper.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Jul 20, 2016

'Zombie Night Terror' makes for a delightful challenge, one that is worth revisiting in the future even after conquering all of the levels. Many of the human characters in the game are in need of grisly end, and zombies are certainly primed for that. The game falls short of excellence, but it's still an easy recommendation for anyone who might enjoy an action-puzzler with zombie b-movie humor.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

For me, the final product beats the impressive previews. It's not a revolution, but it is Naughty Dog at the top of their game.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Apr 23, 2016

Fans of 'Aliens,' myself included, should be pleased when they see Ripley and co in action in a pinball setting. It certainly makes me think of the heyday of licensed pinball tables. And that's just the beginning as the two other tables in the 'Aliens vs. Pinball' pack make for a great set with a nice degree of design and presentation variety.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Apr 14, 2016

'Dark Souls III' delivers. It scratches a special itch that only its developer has managed find. So while the bounty of 'Souls' games in recent years has spoiled this reviewer, it's impossible not to enjoy, and recommend the game to both new and returning players. In fact, only 'Bloodborne' players seeking that game's particular speed and setting may be an exception.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

I enjoyed carving out a hero's path during my time with 'Stories: The Path of Destinies,' and I even entertained a non-gamer with the melodrama inherent to game's branching story. Action game fans will wish for a greater challenge, and everything that the game does well will make players wish that there was more of it.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

I found 'Day of the Tentacle Remastered' to be a shining example of how to do a remaster, and the visuals really stand tall. The original game is more accessible (and nearly modern in some aspects) than I recall. Coupled with the included 'Maniac Mansion' and Vita support, this ought to make a great adventure game romp for a great swathe of players.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Mar 4, 2016

'Street Fighter V' stops short of being an online-only experience, but players need to want to play online nearly all of the time to get much mileage currently. The roster is impressive, but undercut by the game's insistence that players pre-select a single character before going online. In essence, the fighters are more accessible than what the game modes facilitate, but there's no denying how each human vs human match can be marvelous. With the framework in place, and an incredible fighting system delivering on being a new numbered 'Street Fighter' installment, what's left is for Capcom to deliver on their promised content and feature pipeline.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Dec 7, 2015

Being an unconventional indie game, 'Her Story' is like to illicit a strong response. The heavy use of FMV is also like to turn many away, and the interface isn't the friendliest. Fortunately, those that do play the game will find a special experience that easily justifies the price. This is definitely a "have you ever played it" kind of enduring title.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Nov 30, 2015

'Just Cause 3' does a few things that are just ok, but it also does explosions and crazy physics on a big scale very well. By easing up on some of the restrictions typical to openworld games and dialing up Rico's special abilities, 'Just Cause 3' survives its early rough opening to become a worthy diversion for many and an endless playground for others.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Nov 9, 2015

Load up, head out, and see the world. Haul some of it back. Be a law-bringer or a scoundrel. See what's behind the curtain, and make some battery-powered friends. It's all here and more. I wish the visuals of 'Fallout 4' were better, even much better in places, but the gameplay eventually had me hooked. I wanted to see what was around the next bend, and if I could take it. I wanted to see if I would dish out pain or aid, and if the reprehensible machinations of the powerful would yield fascinating, if deplorable, results.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss

Messing with the core 'Call of Duty' gameplay is tricky work, but Treyarch has delivered a AAA beast with 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III.' On the one hand, there is an accessible speed and mobility that keeps everything moving in a guns up way. On the other hand, new abilities will make even the least adept player feel like a powerful part of a team. No doubt, the performance on the PS4 will spoil players. With robust options ranging from a slick co-op campaign to a moody underworld trip into zombie purgatory, playing 'Call of Duty' "just for the multiplayer" has new meaning.

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High-Def Digest
Brian Hoss
Nov 2, 2015

'LEGO Dimensions' pulls from a lot of fantastic licenses and even gets the player to use actual LEGOs. At the same time, the game strays too far from the proven LEGO formulae for a series veteran, pulling out the meat of the game design without providing enough balance or sense of progression. There are bright things in the future for 'LEGO Dimensions' I'm sure, but the growing pains of early adoption are too harsh for me.

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