Having never played through the entirety of any games in the Dark Souls series, I was excited that they were shaking up things a bit with Bloodborne. Focusing more on action than patience, the game suited me almost immediately and never let go. Bloodborne fires on all cylinders with intense gameplay, just the right amount of story and gorgeous visuals. The Dark Souls style of trial and error is immensely satisfying when you manage to get through a tough spot and kept me playing long past when I should have on several occasions.
I still hold to my original review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain when I said that it may just be one of the best games ever made. It speaks volumes about a game when you can spend dozens of hours just doing side missions because they are outright fun to do. Kojima and his team nailed the gameplay formula for this final Metal Gear Solid game. The Fox Engine also ensured the game looks absolutely gorgeous which tons of weather effects and some of the best textures I’ve seen.
Before playing a moment of Until Dawn, I knew it was going to be a hit with me. As an avid fan of both the horror genre and the narrative-driven games I knew this game would be tailer-made to scratch all of the right itches for my various interests. Anticipating this, I recorded my entire first play-through and had a blast while doing so. Since then, to see what various effects choices might have, I have played through the entire game another three times. Even with the relatively low amount of time it takes to complete the game, this is quite a bit of time and clocks in easily as one of my most-played games of the year.
Building custom Super Mario Bros. levels sounds like a great idea on paper, but there was plenty of room for doubt as to whether Nintendo would nail it in practice. Thankfully for Super Mario Maker, Nintendo did the franchise justice with their level builder and created a game I still boot up on a daily basis. Let’s face it, the Super Mario games are fun and having a nearly unlimited supply of new stages to try can only be a good thing. From the terrible levels to the clever and devious ones, I enjoy hopping into Super Mario Maker every time.
One of the most common pitfalls when games are episodic is stagnation. Sometimes just a new bit of story isn’t quite enough to separate it from the other episodes. The Odd Gentlemen have provided an excellent example of how to do this right withe second episode of their reboot of the King’s Quest series. Rubble Without a Cause takes a chance by adjusting the formula set forth by the first episode and succeeds by creating a darker and more intense chapter.
There is always that one game you keep hearing good things about, but put off playing it until the last minute. Tales From the Borderlands was that game for me this year. It’s fairly easy to ignore praise for a game when it feels like you don’t have time, but I’m glad I finally gave it a shot this time, because this may be Telltale’s best work since the first season of The Walking Dead. Sporting interesting and well-written characters, this adventure game had me laughing my butt off several times, which is something more of Telltale’s games should explore.
Lara Croft has come in and out of vogue so many times I’ve lost count. This last reboot they’ve done however, seems to be sticking the landing in just the right way. Rise of the Tomb Raider, though not my favorite name, addresses several of the main concerns with the 2008 reboot and expands upon the new formula in thoughtful ways. It was even engaging enough to pull me away from Fallout 4 until I was finished, which is saying a lot about the quality of the game.
I know, I know, there was no Wednesday Night Stream last night. By way of an apology, please accept this very special episode of Smashed Rook Live featuring myself and my sister Jenny! Check it out as we relive our childhood memories with this classic racing game!
Back in 2008, just months before I moved to the Washington DC area, a little game called Fallout 3 came out. Not sure what to expect, I dove right in and ended up putting quite a bit of time into the game. Seven years later and they’ve finally released Fallout 4 upon the world. Sporting massively improved shooting mechanics and far more interesting companion characters than before, Fallout 4 looks to be a staple in my PS4 for months to come.
Scary games tend to terrify their audiences using jump scares most often. Some titles choose to go down a different route and, while some of those same cheap thrills exist, they decide to make you really think about what’s going on. In Soma, in between being chased down by weird diver-looking underwater monsters or giant fish, your forced to make some difficult choices that will not only have your sweating bullets, but having to think hard about who you really are and whether your perception of yourself is really true.