ESH | Hand of Fate 2 Review

Table­top gam­ing has been some­thing I’ve only got­ten deeper into with the last few years, while my video game hobby has been around since I could hold a con­troller. Since I started get­ting more into play­ing board games, I’ve been excited to see the two types of games blend together. There has been no bet­ter exam­ple of this con­cept than Hand of Fate. Tak­ing some core con­cepts of table­top gam­ing, like draw­ing cards for ran­dom chance encoun­ters, and mix­ing them with video game con­cepts like real-time com­bat encoun­ters, it worked sur­pris­ingly well. Hand of Fate 2 takes all of this and expands upon every­thing adding more ele­ments and improv­ing the over­all struc­ture of how the game is played to make for an even bet­ter blend.

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ESH | RiME Review

Atmos­pheric explo­ration puz­zle games have long been per­fected by the likes of Team Ico with titles like Ico and The Last Guardian pro­vid­ing stel­lar exam­ples of how the genre is done right. Show­ing clear inspi­ra­tion from the afore­men­tioned games, Tequila Works has crafted a beau­ti­ful game in RiME, trans­port­ing the player to a sea­side tem­ple with a bevy of secrets to unfold. Tech­ni­cal glitches occa­sion­ally mar the Nin­tendo Switch ver­sion of Rime, but the over­all expe­ri­ence is a gor­geous and sat­is­fy­ing puz­zle adventure.

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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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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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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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