For as much as 'White Night' brings to the table on an innovative standpoint, it equally misses the mark by failing to ensure gameplay isn't hampered by wonky camera angles and de-evolved save mechanics. Still, the noir setting, visuals, and clever puzzles to solve, coupled with a generally creepy back-story, makes 'White Night' at least a minor point of interest to genre fans (both those of survival horror and the 1930s hardboiled detective).
'WWE 2K15' might not be the best installment in the franchise, but for it's Xbox One debut, it's definitely a worthy entry. From the enhanced graphics to the very impressive stamina system, the series finally feels more authentic to the sport of professional wrestling. 2K Sports definitely needs to up their game next year by adding in missing features and expanding the creation suite, however for the next year, 'WWE 2K15' is going to do just fine in scratching the pro wrestling itch. If you've already been soured by the last-gen offerings, do yourself a favor and give this edition a whirl; it's the real deal and is recommended.
Once multiplayer is up and running without any sizeable hiccups, I easily foresee 'Halo: The Master Chief Collection' taking its place as one of the finest releases for the Xbox One to date. That said, it's a partially complete package sold to consumers at full price. As fantastic as the campaigns are, and as intriguing as the Halo Channel appears to be, I wouldn't necessarily say it's worth $60 out the gate. I intend to continually return to multiplayer in the coming days and weeks for two reasons: one I love the 'Halo' series and multiplayer experience and two, because like the game itself, this is an incomplete review. Once multiplayer has settled itself in a firm state, this review will see a complete overhaul and final ranking set in stone. Until then, 'The Master Chief Collection' is simply worth a look.
I truly want to say 'Alien Isolation' is a contender for game-of-the-year. It's the rare gaming experience that offered me something I never experienced and immersed me in a setting from start to finish. It's beautifully rendered and one can't praise the sound design enough. Still, there's no denying it's long and repeated trial-and-error will only stretch that out to moments of sheer frustration at the game. The story of Amanda Ripley is definitely worth experiencing, but be prepared for some stretches of thin narrative amidst your quest to survive, or more aptly, die less. Finally, it seems, Sega, has directed developer Creative Assembly to make a game with enough authenticity, creativity, and style to make the franchise proud. For those willing to look past the most recent abysmal offering, Gearbox's 'Aliens: Colonial Marines,' 'Alien Isolation' brings it back to where it started. I can't lie about your chances, but... you have my sympathies.
A huge improvement over the fun but flawed 'Sniper Elite' and 'Sniper Elite V2,' 'Sniper Elite III' is a welcome breath of fresh-air in the series and the WWII game genre. The trip to North Africa gives players environments unfamiliar and exciting, while the open-world approach to missions makes sure there's not just one right way to get things done. There's still a good deal of improvement left possible for the series, but the replay value of this outing, including the understated multiplayer system makes this a game worth checking out.
'Rise of the Dark Spark' might not reinvent the wheel in terms of third-person 'Transformers' action, in fact, in some cases it regresses, but it does offer up moments of sheer bliss, most notably its final act. Sadly, that's a very short portion of a game that feels much longer than the five to six hours I invested in my first campaign run-through. Add to that mediocre graphics and a wasted opportunity in multiplayer territory, and you have a game only for the most loyal Autobot or Decepticon supporter. Let us hope the battle surrounding Cybertron picks up where it left off and the next title restores the Transformers videogame legacy to its mark of high praise.
Not a grand slam or even a homerun, 'Watch Dogs' is very much akin to Ubisoft's other flagship series, 'Assassin's Creed,' in this respect, the initial entry is engaging (and frankly, 'Watch Dogs' is far more gripping than the original 'Assassin's Creed' could ever hope to be), but at times feels like a really high-quality tech demo. There's a load of promise from the Disrupt engine and the game license itself. The story of Aiden Pearce is money well spent, even if the buildup doesn't get nearly the payoff one would expect. The little added bonuses feel tad bit gimmicky, but up until recently, Ubisoft never tried to heavily promote them as selling points. What a future 'Watch Dogs' game needs to work on are its driving physics and its graphics; there isn't a reason why the next game should begin to match expectations of the E3 demo; what gamers have been offered here maybe lacking in sheer 'wow' factor, but had that demo never been as stunning as it was, I'd argue the end product might have been received more favorably.
While Telltale delivers a generally accomplished graphic adventure in the strictest sense of the term, 'Back to the Future: The Game' is a title that ultimately, fails to live up to its pedigree. It's very consistent in what it does; yet it's overwhelming lack of ambition and general tendency to skate by on good feelings shortchanges its core demographic. In all reality, someone less familiar with 'Back to the Future' may find more pure value out of the title; fans will definitely want to give it a crack though with the warning that nostalgia only goes so far.
With two decades of gaming technology revitalizing numerous other franchises, the final product should have been a nostalgic throwback with just enough modern day spice to keep things fun (much akin to the recent 'NBA Jam' offerings), not the soul-crushing experience with a $20 price tag it turned out to be.
'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2' will likely end up a polarizing title in the series canon. It's doesn't bring the series' most engaging narrative to the table and in some aspects, the developers really felt like they were phoning it in. Personally, the game strikes the rare balance between casual and hardcore player, offering the former some mindless fun and the latter opportunities to push their play strategy to the test; 'Lords of Shadow 2' may be generally shallow, but those willing to scour those shallow areas are going to find a few hidden secrets and added value.