ESH | The Jackbox Party Pack 4 Review

When The Jack­box Party Pack first came out, it rev­o­lu­tion­ized how mul­ti­player video games could work at par­ties. So long as every­one had some kind of smart device, any­one could pick up and play the sim­ple and addic­tively fun games. As new entries have arrived, there has been a mixed bag of as Jack­box Games has exper­i­mented with the for­mula. Com­ing off of what was, in my opin­ion, the best suite of games thus far with The Jack­box Party Pack 3, there was a lot to live up to for The Jack­box Party Pack 4. Some games suf­fer from over­com­pli­cated rules, but largely this is another fun pack of games that any group can enjoy.

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ESH | The Escapists 2 Review

Ago­niz­ing over the per­fect plan, metic­u­lously prep­ping all the nec­es­sary com­po­nents and then hav­ing it all come apart due to an unseen cir­cum­stance. Escap­ing prison seems like it would be an endeavor that which I would fail mis­er­ably to exe­cute with the per­fec­tion it requires. If noth­ing else, The Escapists 2 has only proven this fact as I have spent plenty of time in soli­tary con­fine­ment for my failed schemes. Thank­fully, unlike real life, the con­se­quences of these failed jail­breaks are min­i­mal and with enough prac­tice, I was even­tu­ally able to spring myself from the joint. It’s this con­cept that makes The Escapists 2 the per­fect action puz­zle game for any­one with a lot of patience look­ing for a real challenge.

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ESH | DeadCore Review

Plat­form­ing sec­tions in first-person games can be noto­ri­ously hard if they’re not done well. Spot­ting plat­forms while you’re jump­ing and nail­ing tar­gets mid-air is tough as nails, but if the con­trols are tight enough it can feel really good. Dead­Core has you steadily climb­ing a tower full of deadly traps and giant leaps, but as through the adver­sity of mak­ing it through this gaunt­let, you will even­tu­ally feel like a first-person god of plat­form­ing. Not every sec­tion is strong, but what is there is chal­leng­ing enough to really make you feel like you earned it.

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The Platinum Diaries | Nier: Automata

Why This Game?

Nor­mally, I like to write these entries on plat­inum tro­phies that are either easy, hard or inter­est­ing in some way. Nier: Automata is an nar­ra­tively bril­liant game that does some really great things with its story and by the end of my play-through, I felt like I was pretty done with it. It was at that moment, I heard about some­thing inten­tion­ally built into the game by the devel­oper that made me want to go ahead and get the plat­inum. I’ll get into what that is and how it made me feel in a bit, but suf­fice it to say that this alone made this game worth writ­ing about.

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ESH | Nex Machina Review

Devel­op­ing one of the best launch titles for the PS4, House­mar­que is back with its lat­est shooter. Nex Machina is a fast-paced shooter that tasks the player with both sav­ing all the humans and blow­ing up tons of bad guys. Brighter, more col­or­ful and jam-packed with vox­els, Nex Machina is per­fect for scratch­ing the itch that Reso­gun left behind.

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ESH | TWD Season 3 ‘From the Gallows’ Review

Start­ing up the final episode of sea­son 3 for The Walk­ing Dead, I had a hard time imag­in­ing the endgame Tell­tale had in mind. The main antag­o­nist of the sea­son had already been dealt with and the fate of Rich­mond seemed pretty set in stone. There were cer­tainly a few sur­prises in there, I’ll get to that in a bit, but after fin­ish­ing up Javier’s story, I felt like they didn’t quite make good on what made this sea­son unique: The flash­back sequences and your rela­tion­ship with David. Despite this, the thrills are still there and some dif­fi­cult deci­sions still had to be made in Episode 5: From the Gal­lows, which make this a rea­son­ably good sea­son of Telltale’s break­out adven­ture series.

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The Platinum Diaries | Horizon: Zero Dawn

Why This Game?

My deci­sion to go for the full plat­inum comes down to a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent things for Hori­zon: Zero Dawn. It’s both an awe­some game that I was happy to con­tinue play­ing and the remain­der of tro­phies weren’t that bad to round up in the end. Don’t get me wrong, this shouldn’t be on your short list for easy plat­inums, but if you’re going to play it any­way, you may as well go the full dis­tance. Con­sid­er­ing it’s a game where you fight giant robot dinosaurs, con­trol a com­plex and badass female char­ac­ter and the story is engag­ing and inter­est­ing, there are plenty of rea­sons to play it and grab that plat­inum by the end.

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ESH | Bendy and the Ink Machine: Chapter 1 & 2 Review

Pro­foundly spooky loca­tions and dark fore­bod­ing design are often the land­mark for an effec­tive hor­ror game. What could be more ter­ri­fy­ing than run­ning for your life in a dark for­est or an aban­doned insane asy­lum? Bendy and the Ink Machine takes this idea and flips it on its head by pro­vid­ing an incred­i­bly scary expe­ri­ence, while using graph­ics straight out of a car­toon from the 1930s. The first two episodes, that have been released thus far, are very short, but they man­age to instill a sense of dread even while invok­ing those clas­sic car­toons and they look damn good while doing it.

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ESH | Embers of Mirrim Review

Rub­bing your stom­ach and pat­ting your head has always been one of the great­est exer­cises in mul­ti­task­ing. Get­ting your brain to process two sep­a­rate tasks simul­ta­ne­ously is sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult. Cre­ative Bytes Stu­dios is look­ing to put you to the ulti­mate test with the new plat­form­ing adven­ture Embers of Mir­rim. Jump­ing through the world as two crea­tures that have been com­bined into one, you must use the pow­ers of each simul­ta­ne­ously to tra­verse the dan­gers as you cure the cor­rup­tion plagu­ing the land. Embers of Mir­rim is not only a com­pe­tent and beau­ti­ful game, it is chal­leng­ing and fun in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

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ESH | Demon’s Crystals Review

Mind­lessly blast­ing bad­dies is always a good way to wind down when you’re not in the mood for some­thing a lit­tle heav­ier. Demon’s Crys­tals is a twin stick shooter that’s not look­ing to break any new ground, but the mechan­ics are just good enough that it’s suit­able for some short bursts of fun. Boast­ing a sim­ple main cam­paign and six mul­ti­player types, Demon’s Crys­tals doesn’t have a lot of depth, but for the five dol­lar price tag, you’ll get enough silly fun to last you and your friends a few nights.

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