Category: Reviews

July 3, 2020 Off

Marvel’s Iron Man VR Review – Not Quite Invincible

By tracy

As one of the most beloved superheroes, Iron Man is nearly as recognizable as any other character in pop culture today. Despite his success in films and comic books, video game prosperity has thus far eluded Marvel’s icon. With Iron Man VR, developer Camoflaj lets you step into Tony Stark’s power armor as you fly, blast, and quip your way through several missions spanning the globe. Iron Man VR gives you all the thrills of saving the day, but even early in the adventure, it’s easy to notice the cracks in the armor.

You assume the role the popular Avenger who has served as one of Marvel’s most iconic characters for years. Once you don the Iron Man suit, you use PlayStation Move controllers and the PSVR headset itself to dictate how and where you fly. Tilt the controllers behind you and you hurtle forward, and change direction by adjusting the angle of your arms and where you’re looking. Flying forward feels intuitive and terrific; whenever I was speeding along a linear path, I truly felt like a capable hero.

Combat in Iron Man VR is superb. Using the motion controllers to access Iron Man’s full arsenal of weapons truly

July 1, 2020 Off

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Review – Lacking The Excitement Of A Legend

By tracy

Brigandine debuted over two decades ago on the original PlayStation, and only now is it getting a sequel. It may seem like an unlikely candidate for revival, but Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia comes at a time when the strategy/RPG genre is getting renewed attention – partially thanks to Fire Emblem’s success. For those who want something in that vein, this certainly scratches a similar itch. Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia personalizes the strategy/RPG experience by letting you recruit and get to know your combatants in side stories. Watching your team grow in strength and invading new areas makes you feel powerful, even if it lacks variety and gets repetitive. 

The gameplay offers a lot of customization and freedom in how you build an army for world conquest. You begin your journey by selecting from one of six nations, each with its own leader, storyline, and strategic slant. I picked the Republic of Guimoule, where my leader has been performing under a secret identity as a ballerina, but must step up into a leadership role once her country is endangered. The game positions you well to think and feel for your nation, since each one has hopes and expectations riding

June 19, 2020 Off

Evan’s Remains Review — A Middle-Ground Mystery

By tracy

Most genre hybrids take aspects of different game types and blend them into one seamless experience. In an action/RPG, for example, players usually can’t tell where the “action” stops and the “RPG” begins. Evan’s Remains is different; it combines a visual novel and a puzzle game, but each genre remains distinct and intact. It alternates between puzzle-solving sequences and story scenes, but never feels disjointed. Instead, Evan’s Remains is a stylish, side-scrolling indie that injects variety at the right moments, even as it struggles with its defining elements.

You control Dysis, a young woman who shows up on a mysterious island in search of a missing genius named Evan. That’s all you know at the beginning, but the narrative gets more complicated as you proceed, bringing in other characters and additional mysteries. Like a visual novel, the scenes unfold through text boxes and character portraits, though you also have plenty of opportunities to appreciate the excellent pixel art and animation. The story is well-paced, with a trail of questions to follow. Where is Evan? Who is this shadowy figure? What is the island’s secret? I enjoyed the pursuit of the answers, but the tale culminates in an absurd twist that

June 17, 2020 Off

Song Of Horror Review – A Frightening Ode To The Classics

By tracy

Good horror movies get under your skin, creating unsettling feels that linger long after you’ve left the theater or turned off the TV. The element of interactivity that video games offer can elevate those sensations even further. Knowing that the hero’s fate rests solely on your actions is a far cry from helplessly watching them get stalked by a killer and shouting at them to not go in that room. Song of Horror is an ode to classic survival horror that taps into what makes the genre resonate with fans who want to get in on the action. There are a few bum notes here and there, but it’s a tense bit of storytelling worth experiencing.

The “song” in the title refers to a piece of cursed music that purportedly drives its listeners to madness – and alarming acts of violence. Over the course of five episodes, publisher Daniel Noyer and a rotating cast of characters investigates the disappearance of a globe-trotting author who was researching the mysterious tune. This is definitely an experience in the style of old-school Resident Evil, down to the fixed camera angles and bizarrely conceived puzzles. A few lingering issues are tough to avoid, such

June 13, 2020 Off

Disintegration Review – A Strategic Misstep 

By tracy

Halo was first conceived as a real-time strategy game, but it evolved into a first-person shooter over the course of development. I’ve often wondered what might have happened if Bungie had stuck to those strategy roots. Developer V1 Interactive – which is helmed by one of Halo’s co-creators – has given us a window into a possible alternate reality with Disintegration, a sci-fi shooter that blends first-person combat with real-time strategy. But, if Disintegration is any indication of what might have been, then I’m glad the original Halo switched genres in development. 

Conceptually, I like Disintegration. You spend the entire game aboard a gravcycle, which is basically a floating tank that gives you a birds-eye view of the action, allowing you to issue orders to a small squad of grunts while engaging in combat yourself. That idea is solid, and I appreciate how your combat hovercar adds a vertical element to first-person combat. However, Disintegration’s gravcycle also makes you feel removed from the action, because you are literally floating above it. 

Spending the entire game in the sky has a few unexpected consequences, like hampering your sense of speed. The gravcycle has a decent base speed for a ground vehicle,

June 12, 2020 Off

The Last Of Us Part II Review – A Perfect Circle

By tracy

There are many things about human nature we struggle against. We see what we want to see. We acquire our beliefs and perspectives from the people and the world around us. And sometimes, in order to see, we must be shown.

The Last of Us Part II illuminates many complicated and difficult facets of humanity – a journey that tackles empathy, anger, and how we are defined by those around us. These philosophical considerations can be uncomfortable to wrestle with, but Naughty Dog conveys them with careful nuance and unflinching emotion, creating a narrative masterpiece with a unique power few games have ever achieved.

The story opens with a conversation about how the first game ended – about what Joel did at the Firefly hospital, and the lie he told Ellie about it. That exchange lays the foundation for the current state of their complicated relationship, which players come to understand even more deeply as the story continues. Holed up in an encampment in Jackson, Wyoming, Ellie and Joel are trying to come to terms with the consequences of their previous actions, and the world continues to suffer from the chaos of the infection that has transformed mankind and ravaged