At the end of the campaign, you'll most likely be surprised to find that the one person who hung out with you was really three, or four, or more. What's more surprising was that seeing all the people I'd come into contact with hits me emotionally. I don't know them, but I 'know' them.
Rise of the Tomb Raider took aim at perfecting not just its own series, but modern action games as well, which is an ambitious undertaking to say the least. The past decade has seen the genre jump, shoot, and blow stuff up real good with games like Resident Evil 4, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Dead Space. Each redefined what a well-balanced 15-hour experience could be by delivering a compelling narrative, tight gameplay, and outstanding world building. Rise of the Tomb Raider bests even those classics with a character that resonates like no other. Even if it took nearly twenty years for that to happen, this is an adventure worth replaying with a hero who's unforgettable.
As a series, Halo has been the one triple-A shooter that has fans for the story as well as the multiplayer. Depending on where you are on the spectrum between story and gameplay, you can take my grade up or down a half point. If you're looking for a frag-fest, plus all the enticements of the new Warzone mode, Halo 5 is a must-own. All the new abilities and maps are terrific. Those who care about the single-player campaign might not find the story to be as compelling but will appreciate the treatment of lore and production value. Either way, In the coming months, Halo 5: Guardians will undoubtedly have both supporters and detractors playing and commenting about it for years.
By the time the campaign ended, I can't imagine any fan of the series will be let down. Throughout the twenty-two chapters and a wonderful final level that you won't want to miss, Nathan Drake's story is finally complete. Whatever a future developer chooses—Naughty Dog has said this is their last Uncharted—they have mighty big shoes to fill. Muddy, worn out, hilarious shoes…
Read Only Memories started out as a project for the inclusion of LGBT characters, but regardless of where one leans on the political spectrum, it's so much more than just a good-intentioned story of equality for all. You'll have the option by way of your answers to tailor your own issues of identity and throughout the game's ten-hour length you'll encounter plenty of gay and straight, trans- and cis-gendered people.
Seen as a whole, my twelve-hour playthrough of Life is Strange has been a memorable one. The highest compliment I can give is that I felt like I spend quality time with Max, and the rest of the citizens of Arcadia Bay. Time that I would never rewind, but plan to revisit for sure.
I've finished nearly every console Legend of Zelda game, and Link's adventure into the Twilight Realm, his partnership with Midna, and more makes Twilight Princess my second-favorite of the series. This HD version might not be as eye candy-worthy as Wind Waker HD was, but that really is a minor quibble for such an amazing experience. Ocarina of Time is still the Citizen Kane of video games, but for pure mood and soul Twilight Princess is unparalleled.
Still, as a new version of a game many never played, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D has plenty of improvements that overall make it a more playable experience. In fact, the live, die, repeat nature of the game seems more at home on a portable device than a console (despite that fact that I would rather play in on my Wii U). Beyond all that, though, there really isn't another game like this Zelda. In a medium where nearly every aspect of other big games are redone over and over, Majora's Mask is still an adventure like no other.
With three episodes left, Telltale is considering Episode 5 a sort of bridge between the end of the Witherstorm finale and post-season tales. While I’m looking forward to Episode 6 more than I was before, Order Up! greatly benefits from being self-contained. Aiden makes for a solid adversary and The Founder is a terrific character I hope to see more of. There’s not really a lot of new depth to cast regulars like Lukas, Elizabeth, or Axel, but Ivor really comes into his own. His enthusiasm to obtain The Eversource is infectious. (Petra has a nice moment of faux memory, a fun callback to Episode 4.) This is the first Telltale episode in ages that I look forward to replaying.
Battlefield 1 isn’t just a great addition to the series, it arrives as a thunderous explosion that will impact the military shooter space for many years to come. A memorable single player campaign in an FPS is a rarity, and it delivers that without compromise. Operations is an instant classic for multiplayer lovers, while the other modes will keep you invested, supported by fantastic gameplay. Visually breathtaking and fun to play, DICE has delivered an instant classic that has raised the bar.
Although not the breakthrough that was Limboback in 2010, Inside is nonetheless a beautifully-crafted refinement of that experience. The art direction is just as haunting, but in a way that's entirely its own. The amazing musical score can be transporting while at the same time oppressive. And the big finale is open to interpretation in the best way possible. I can't wait to discuss every aspect of this experience with others. I'm still thinking about being inside one of the year's most memorable games.
One year after its release, Destiny is finally becoming the game most of us wished. The Taken King improves the experience in nearly every way. Destiny still has a few issues that could be sorted out, but The Taken King brings hope that future Destiny expansions will fix those too.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues the evolution that began in last year's Advanced Warfare. The current-generation of the mega popular war shooter series impresses with (some) freedom of choice and fun abilities. So much so that most of the time, the rather pedestrian visuals and unmemorable story won't be a deal breaker. Especially, when you consider all the extra content like a second zombie themed campaign.
Will Story Mode pan out? Will it stand as one of Telltale's best? For now, the answer is… maybe. Episode One is a fun two hours with plenty of shout-outs to fans of the series while also a solid balance of gameplay and characters for those who've never combined flint, sticks, and a feather to create an arrow. As a "player choice via conversation" game, though, the plot so far is fairly standard.