Without flashing PETA's save-the-bat signal, it's hard not to chuckle as a flock of sheep face the spinning jaws of slaughter-by-sawblade. The animations are charming, the backdrops are pretty and there's a clever — albeit slightly aggravating — design to its sprawling, puzzle-centric stages.
There's a lot to love about Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Freedom Cry. Its darker theme and moments of genuine sadness make for a captivating adventure, while the "new" lead character and his evil-thwarting machete serve the most satisfying form of justice.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham struggles to maintain balance with its cast of characters constantly pushing one another from the spotlight, and suffers from many of the series' routine issues. On the other hand, it brings to the table an experience DC and Lego fans will not-soon forget: an action-packed adventure, plenty of charm and moments of bona fide hilarity.
Perhaps what is most disappointing is that Thief does its best to make you believe that there's more to it beneath the surface, and you'll drudge through much of its mess with that glint of hope. That isn't the case, though, as it's very much a "take it as it is" experience, and if you're willing to do so you'll find that it just might steal some time from your weekend.
Shelter 2 isn't a great game, but few games charge players with wrestling genuine emotion or real-world struggle, and in general the medium hardly demonstrates or encourages such circumstances. There's no complex mechanic or grand story to work through, but there's none that could easily capture "feelings" either.