Dishonored is a refreshingly stealthy change of pace in a first-person-shooter market crowded with Call of Battlefield-type games that seem like they were produced by Michael Bay. Don’t get us wrong—we love blowing stuff up, and we love killing terrorists, but sometimes we like to take a break from the frantic action and unwind with a night of stealthy throat slitting and neck snapping. After all, a man’s got to relax. This is what Dishonored delivers; a game based on stealth, tactics, and the delightful task of mastering a broad range of mystical abilities, providing us with a much-needed change of scenery in an FPS landscape dominated by desert warfare shooters, Borderlands 2 notwithstanding.
Note: This review was originally featured in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
PC gaming is where you go for high-octane visuals, and the original Crysis was no exception when it dropped in 2007. The highly anticipated sequel in 2011, however, proved a less ambitious affair. We traded a vast, free-roam jungle for the relatively restricted avenues of a war-torn New York City. There was usually more than one route to take, but this more linear experience arrived with some seams showing: Its advanced graphical options were inaccessible, the AI did not impress, and it did not even use DirectX 11 (at first). Crysis 3 fares better in some ways, but not in others.
We loved the original Borderlands for all of its first-person-shooter action, varied gameplay (there was shooting people and driving over them, for example), and lots and lots of guns. In fact, the official claim from developer Gearbox Software was that the game offered 16,164,886 guns, which is almost as big as Gordon Mah Ung’s personal collection. Despite its glorious carnage, it also had a few glaring problems, foremost of which was a horrendous PC port that was so bad Gearbox publicly apologized (via a love letter written by the game’s annoying NPC Claptrap) and promised to make it right with Borderlands 2.
Note: This review was taken from the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
We’ve all seen this pattern before, haven’t we? First the successful comic/graphic novel. Then the compromised, but still runaway movie based on said comic/graphic novel. Finally, you get a buggy, third-rate game that has been rushed out to meet some arbitrary marketing deadline.
America’s nerdiest hobby gets its annual digital update, but is it worthwhile?
If you’ve ever played (or tried to play) Magic: The Gathering, you know it can be tricky to get started. Between the complicated rules, intricate strategy, and the roster of more than 12,000 unique cards, it’s not a game that would traditionally be called “accessible.”
Max Payne is a man who’s insanely uncomfortable inside his own skin. He’s still haunted by the death of his family, and in Max Payne 3, his body—more so than any random member of Brazil’s criminal underbelly—is the target of his most vicious attacks. Booze. Pills. Booze. Pills. Booze. Pills. Perhaps the most self-destructive character gaming has ever seen, Max is a ticking time bomb of good intentions and life’s harsh realities. And, for better or worse, so is this game. It claws desperately at greatness in so many places—a gripping cinematic narrative, real character development, a Rockstar-worthy world, utterly sublime shooting—but narrowly manages to fall short every time. In slow-mo.
If this isn’t a tease of Diablo III’s expansion, we’ll eat our rare Wizard hats.
Like many of the one-sided NPCs that appear within Blizzard’s third summer-vacation‑to‑Hell, it sure feels as if there’s something special lurking beneath Diablo III—once you get behind all the odd trappings and poor design decisions, that is. If you’re new to the series, the game goes something like this: See evil, click on evil, kill evil. Repeat 100,000 times. That’s Diablo.
How to build a modern-day PC into a replica of the Commodore 64
Many people wax poetic about the polite ’50s, the radical ’60s, or the wild ’70s, but for nerds, the 1980s was the best decade. A full-on war raged in the new category of “personal computer,” no one operating system ruled the world, and, man, you could walk into a Toys “R” Us and buy the world’s all-time bestselling PC: the Commodore 64.
There’s some magical quality about the Transformers brand, a wonderful beauty in the idea that giant, walking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots—who absolutely hate each other, we note—can transform into the coolest of cars, the heaviest of machinery, the biggest of guns… or even larger, walking Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots.
OUR SHEPARD LOOKS like hell. He’s got shadows under his eyes that’d frighten the seediest of back‑alley dwellers. Even when he smiles—for instance, while warmly embracing an old friend—there’s a palpable weariness to the gesture. This man, this hero we’ve piloted through countless near-apocalyptic trials and tribulations, is at the end of his rope. The Reapers have decided that all organic life is ripe for the picking, and Earth’s looking mighty juicy. Shepard’s got the weight of the entire universe on his shoulders, and little by little, every agonized step forward breaks his back a bit more.
After playing through Mass Effect 3, we look a lot like our Shepard, but for different reasons. We clearly haven’t slept, and basic hygiene has become so foreign a concept that we reply to the word “shower” with, “Yeah, it’s about 4:27 p.m.” Mass Effect 3, you see, is one of those experiences. By no means is it perfect, but it’s a tale so gripping as to have its own gravitational pull. It's Shepard’s darkest hour, and we had no intention of seeing the sun until its credits roll.