'Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker' is truly a gem of a game to play. It is also one of the biggest Wii U surprises I've had since first buying the console. Who would have thought that developing a handful of mini-games for 'Super Mario 3D World' could turn into such a charming game? Although fairly short, the overall experience is one that I will not soon forget. 'Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker' simply should not be missed.
I've been a fan of the horror genre for the majority of my life. From books and comics, to movies, video games, and board games, I'm always on the lookout for something to give me a good scare. However, I've never been a huge fan of the survival horror style of video game. Don't get me wrong, they're good fun, but I've always enjoyed those games that attempt to balance horror and action set pieces more. 'Dead Space 2', in my opinion, is nearly perfect. I was even a fan (albeit, in the minority) of 'Resident Evil 6'. While 'The Evil Within' walks a tightrope that straddles these two types of horror games, it occasionally leans a bit more toward the survival horror side of things. By mixing in some frustratingly difficult boss battles, the games veers off in the other direction. Although both styles of gameplay can be exceptionally fun and exciting, I would have ultimately preferred the game remain exclusively focused on one or the other. The gore and violence reaches a boiling point very early on and people who either take offence or have a weak stomach for such experiences should avoid 'The Evil Within' at all costs. Those looking to test their skills and enjoy an all-out blood bath need look no further.
I've been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien since I was a boy. The fantastical world he created never disappointed, regardless of the entertainment medium it was presented in. His books kept me awake long into the night and Peter Jackson's film adaptations often left me breathless. While many of the video games based in this fantasy world have often been hit or miss, it's safe to say that 'Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor' has lived up to my very high expectations as being my most anticipated game (and let's not forget new franchise entry) of 2014. It took everything that I love about the action/adventure genre and brought it to life in wonderfully immersive ways. Monolith Productions has earned some serious bragging rights not only with what they've done for the epic fantasy franchise, but for what they have developed with their Nemesis system. Their many accolades and high praise are both warranted and justified. 'Shadow of Mordor' should not be missed.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when first starting 'CounterSpy', but the theme and tone of the game immediately struck a chord that stayed with me throughout the experience. The easy-to-understand controls ensured that I was able to navigate the game quickly, while the shorter gameplay sessions fit nicely into my schedule and allowed me to accomplish as many missions as I may have had time for. I came away impressed with Dynamighty's first game and look forward to future offerings this small, yet determined, team may have in store for the future.
I've played my fair share of 'ultimate' or 'definitive' editions of games over the years. Some have warranted the title, presenting truly unique and inspiring updates, while others resulted in nothing more than a rehash of the same game with obligatory DLC thrown in for good measure. 'Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition' undeniably falls into the former of these categories. It's true, I have not played much 'Diablo III' before the 'Ultimate Evil Edition', but my research prior to its release, along with the time spent playing the game as a newcomer, has convinced me that it is much more than a simple port, and that it has been designed (in some cases from scratch) to take full advantage of the technology of the PlayStation 4. Playing alone is certainly an option, but playing together with friends is the preferred method and allows for multiple opportunities to do so. Blizzard Entertainment's continued focus on social integration shines, as does their ability to develop a game that runs amazingly smooth, delivers awe-inspiring visuals, and intuitively captures the imagination and enjoyment of those looking for a grand dungeon crawl, both new to the franchise and long-standing fans.
I came away from 'The Swapper' with that rare feeling of video game content and satisfaction. From the intriguing puzzles and puzzle mechanics, to the awe inspiring handcrafted visuals, there is very little that I didn't admire and appreciate. Released at a time when most gaming consoles are experiencing their yearly summer dry spell, it was a welcome addition and more than just simple filler. It prompted questions of morality with a deeper-than-expected story, while satisfying on a variety of levels with unique and challenging puzzles.
I continue to be impressed with the ongoing creative efforts of Ubisoft Montpellier, and 'Valiant Hearts: The Great War' is yet another reason to be excited. They've taken what many consider to be the most tragic war in history and turned it into a game that has a story filled with heart and emotion. 'Valiant Hearts' is as close to an interactive history lesson as you can come, and were I a high school history teacher, I would find a way to work the game into my classroom lecture. Fans of history – tragic or otherwise – and wonderful storytelling will find plenty of reason to see 'Valiant Hearts: The Great War' through to the end.
Driven by its story, fans of Quantic Dreams' 'Beyond: Two Souls' and 'Heavy Rain' are certain to find 'Murdered: Soul Suspect' appealing. The setting, characters, and not- altogether-foreseeable-plot twist, truly set this game apart. As much as I enjoyed the experience, it's difficult for me to recommend it as a full priced retail game. Clocking in between 6-7 hours (even after locating about 75% of the collectibles), the game was just beginning to ramp up when the credits start to roll. With a lower than average replay value, and no multiplayer option, paying full price for 'Soul Suspect' may be a difficult decision to make. Still, playing the game now, waiting for a price drop, or adding it to your rental queue, 'Murdered: Soul Suspect' is a noble effort by Airtight Games and one that I enjoyed from start to finish.