Ever since Rome 2's disappointing release back in 2013, it feels like the Total War series has been lost and in search of something. From Attila and Thrones of Britannia's tinkering to the Warhammer games' explosion of personality there has been wild experimentation between titles. Three Kingdoms is the culmination of that adventure -- and this game is amazing.
The mainstream narrative of esports has been lovingly crafted by those who benefit from its success. There's big money in esports, they say. You've heard the stories. Yet there's a reason why these narratives attract lip-licking headlines in business news and have accrued colossal amounts of venture capital. More and more, esports is looking like a bubble ready to pop.
The lightsaber has been around since the very beginning of Star Wars and they've been part of many different Star Wars video games throughout the past 30+ years. They also show us how video games have improved and advanced over the last few decades. So grab your lightsaber, turn it on and wave it around.
Sean Murray, lead developer of No Man's Sky, has seen the best and worst of it since the game's incredible first trailer was shown in 2013. But after a failed launch, No Man's Sky has flourished in recent years. While he won't release sales figures, Murray said that "last year we sold the kind of numbers a AAA game would be happy with at launch," using the industry jargon for big budget games.
It's hard to say how Fortnite is turning out because it keeps turning into something else. Skins and storylines come and go. Landmarks appear and disappear. Weapons are added and removed. Recently, a mysterious excavation site appeared, but it was dug up and abandoned by the time I got there the next day. There's never a perfect time to say what Fortnite is.
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the thread between life and death is tenuous. As the One-Armed Wolf, a loyal shinobi seeking to save a young noble with a cursed bloodline, you traverse a feudal Japan so saturated with the remnants of war that the idea of mortality becomes fickle.
Apex Legends is a tasting menu of battle royale moments, rather than the potato chip jump-die-restart of my Fortnite experiences. There are countless moments to surprise or disappoint yourself. The hero aspect of the game is a change for battle royales, but other than that, the basics are standard for the genre.
Every once in a while, a game comes along that that does something surprising, different, memorable. Anthem is not one of those games. Anthem's core idea of "jetpacks plus guns" works excellently on its own, but nothing else in the game quite lives up to it.
PC has never been a singular platform like, say, PlayStation or Xbox. Instead, it's a series of disparate landmasses sharing the same turbulent sea. PC gaming looks to become more fragmented than it's been in the past few years---for better and worse. More options means more chances for new ideas to flourish and, perhaps, for a new middle class of developers to emerge.
PlayStation Classic is a faithful reproduction of the experience of playing original PlayStation games in the mid-1990s. The experience is technically accurate, but the PS Classic doesn't feel like it was created by a company with a true and abiding passion for the games of this era, or even with the good sense to fake one.
Since 2014 updates to Diablo III have been light and sporadic, and four years later, Blizzard's announcement of Diablo Immortal at a time when fans are hungry for any news of a Diablo IV has led to big questions about the future of the franchise. What's really going on with Diablo?
For a lot of gamers with demanding jobs, marriages and/or families, the excitement of reading good reviews for games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey is tempered by the sinking realization that they'll never have time to play them. How do you make time for a 60+ hour game when you have a busy life?
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a profound, glorious downer. It is the rare blockbuster video game that seeks to move players not through empowering gameplay and jubilant heroics, but by relentlessly forcing them to confront decay and despair. Rockstar Games' new open-world western opus is exhaustively detailed and exhaustingly beautiful, a mammoth construction of which every nook and cranny has been polished to an unnerving shimmer.
The fourth installment of Treyarch's Black Ops series might be the first Call of Duty to forgo single-player. But after a spate of less-than-fully-satisfying entries, putting full efforts behind multiplayer has paid off: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 finds the perfect middle ground between classic COD and the "jetpack" era, reviving the franchise's fun in many ways.
Is there anything so satisfying to watch as a well-played Mario speedrun? What makes an expert run of Super Mario Bros. so eminently watchable, and how do the players master their moves so perfectly? It turns out that the answer to both questions could be "music."
Mega Man 11 is a fine game, and a worthy eleventh entry in a series that once set the bar for tricky platformers. It also feels oddly shallow, the latest iteration of a formula that has gone largely unchanged for decades. Mega Man 11 is great at being a Mega Man game. Maybe that's why it didn't do much for me.
I started reviewing these two games together all the way back in 2012, but six years in, I feel like this double-review is in danger of settling into just the kind of repetitive drone it was designed to counter. Now, more than ever, each series' pros and cons are so established, so settled into routine that it's almost a waste of everyone's time to dredge them up once again.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft ventures from Mexico into the jungles of Peru. It's fun and beautiful and is a lengthy adventure full of enjoyable Tomb Raidery things. It's built on the sturdy traditions of the 22-year-old franchise and uses most of the same smart systems that were introduced in 2013's Tomb Raider reboot and refined in 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider.