My Favorite Concerts of 2016

by Matthew Thompson

I went to my first concert when I was in the fourth grade. My parents took my brother and I to go see Aerosmith. Ever since it feels like going to see bands play live has been a part of my life. Even so, I think my love of them had waned a bit in recent years. As I age, I don’t quite love being on my feet or standing in crowds for such long periods. This year kind of rekindled my love for the live show though. And now I’m going to run down my five favorites from this past year. Here it goes Continue reading

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My Favorite Albums of 2016

by Matthew Thompson

Music is a big part of my life whether it is helping me get through the work day, fueling my gym sessions or even playing in the background as I write. But I don’t really break it down like I do some of my other hobbies. I guess it is just about whether I like the sound and how it makes me feel when I listen to it. That doesn’t mean I can’t pick some favorite albums from 2016. Here they are Continue reading

Returning to Croft Manor

by Matthew Thompson

One thing I have sorely missed in the rebooted Tomb Raider series is Croft Manor. Over the years, Lara’s family home has served many purposes from training ground to self-contained Metroidvania-esque experience to plot-driven setpiece location. In 2008’s Tomb Raider: Underworld, we even discovered a hidden tomb lying beneath the Croft estate in the game’s underrated DLC Beneath the Ashes. We did get brief glimpses of the Manor during cutscenes in last year’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, but it wasn’t until this Fall’s downloadable content titled Blood Ties that we would be able to fully explore the famous heroine’s home again for the first time in nearly a decade Continue reading

ReCore ReView

by Matthew Thompson

ReCore gets off to such a promising start that it is hard not to fall for the game early on. In many ways it feels like a throwback to games from a time gone by. Cinematic ambition and storytelling take a back seat to the nuts and bolts of gameplay here. Platforming is prominent and challenging in a way rarely seen in today’s releases. It often reminds me of Sony’s PS2-era platformers like Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank. Once upon a time, I lived for games like that. I still would if those games weren’t so few and far between. In that way, ReCore was a very welcome release in 2016. Unfortunately, the deeper I got into protagonist Joule’s journey, the more things started to break apart at the seams. By the end, I found a promising title brought down by technical issues, a severe lack of polish and some head-scratching design decisions Continue reading