Marvel’s Spider-man (PS4) Review

by Matthew Thompson

To me, Insomniac’s take on Spider-man succeeds mostly on the back of its core mechanics. Swinging around New York City is fluid and fun. There is enough depth to make the task of keeping your momentum interesting even if the game rarely requires you to push your skills to the limit in this area. Combining everything at your disposal from swings to wall runs to point launches makes traversing amid the Big Apple’s towering skyscrapers a blast even when you are just wandering around between missions Continue reading

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Celeste Review

by Matthew Thompson

I died over a thousand times before reaching the summit in Celeste. It speaks to the impeccable design of this new 2D platformer from the makers of TowerFall that despite perishing over and over again, I never became frustrated. Checkpoints are plentiful – you are typically only tasked with completing a single screen without dying – and respawns instantaneous. This makes repeated attempts – of which you will need many – at the game’s tricky traversal segments relatively pain-free. And your persistence will be rewarded. Nothing in gaming outside of the rare competitive multiplayer moment gives me the satisfaction that besting a challenging section in a platformer can. Celeste delivers the most rewarding feeling I have gotten from the genre in this manner since Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst’s exhilarating time trials Continue reading

Little Nightmares Review

by Matthew Thompson

I like to think I keep myself fairly well apprised of upcoming video game releases and yet somehow Little Nightmares slipped past my radar. It actually appeared on my Most Anticipated Games list a couple of years back when it was known as Hunger, but between the name change and the passage of time it eluded me on release. Late in 2017, I spotted the familiar cover art while browsing GameFly and was able to put the game through its paces early on in 2018. In the process, I uncovered one of the underrated gems of last year Continue reading

Super Mario Odyssey Review

by Matthew Thompson

I have always preferred my Mario platformers to be of the linear variety. As much as I loved the 2D titles growing up, I didn’t really become enamored with the 3D series until they returned to the plumber’s more straightforward roots with Galaxy and the subsequent games since (Galaxy 2, 3D Land and 3D World). I wasn’t exactly enthused to see Odyssey going back to the 64/Sunshine style and after playing Odyssey, I think my lack of enthusiasm for this return to a more adventure-slanting 3D Mario was warranted Continue reading

Life is Strange: Before the Storm “Awake” (Episode 1) Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

I was very skeptical when I first heard rumors about Life is Strange: Before the Storm and even more red flags popped up when I saw its official reveal at E3. My big worry was whether or not a prequel to a choice-based narrative-focused game like the original Life is Strange was a good idea. Would knowing the fates of the major players here dampen the experience? And to be honest, I was never a big enough fan of Chloe Price to really want a whole game focusing on her past either. When you throw in a new developer and different voice actress for Chloe, I had plenty of reasons for concern. But after playing through this initial episode of Before the Storm recently, I am happy to report this new Life is Strange project is off to a very promising start Continue reading

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

I was very open to the idea of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, but had no idea if I would like it. Unlike most people, it wasn’t because of the Rabbids. I actually have some fond memories of the Rabbid games. I used to play the original Raving Rabbids title on the Wii with my mom and in the years since she has gotten me a few other entries in the series as gifts. The asynchronous multiplayer in the Wii U’s Rabbids Land was a particularly big hit with friends and family while some of the other Wii party games were a good time when I could gather more friends for game nights back in college. My worry was whether I could get into something turn-based. I’ve mentioned my aversion to this style of combat in the past. I’d avoided any RPGs like that since I was a kid and my only flirtation with strategy games of that ilk – Advance Wars and a similar game in the Prince of Persia series (yes there was a PoP strategy game and I own it!) – didn’t last all that long. Would this wacky Mario + Rabbids crossover leave me cold in the same way? Apparently not as I found myself hooked on this for a couple of weeks last month Continue reading

Madden 18 Longshot Mode Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

Madden used to be an annual Day 1 purchase for me. Due to a number of factors, I started getting the game less often until it became a rental the past couple of years. Part of it was me branching out into a lot of different genres and preferring my sports time be spent watching the real thing. The other issue is one often levied at sports games: a lack of substantial upgrades for each new entry. The fact that I was buying a glorified roster update started to grate on me. That is one reason I was excited to see EA announce the new Longshot mode for Madden 18 at E3 this year. After playing through it last week, it is safe to say that this new story mode is different from anything that has been a part of Madden in the past and a welcome addition to the long-running series Continue reading

Nier: Automata Review

by Matthew Thompson

In Nier: Automata, you’ll play as several different androids as they wage war against robotic foes. You fight on behalf of the humans. The robots, for alien invaders. This is the jumping off point for a moving narrative with a philosophical bent. While the story focuses on beings of artificial intelligence, it really utilizes them to explore various topics related to human nature. Love, the meaning of life, the concept of family and the fear of death are just some of the weighty subjects Automata tackles. The result is a journey that is often touching, occasionally uncomfortable and always thought-provoking Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

by Matthew Thompson

There are few series in gaming that I love as much as The Legend of Zelda. I’m particularly fond of the 3D entries. The fact that we only get one of these every five or so years makes the already anticipated release of a new Zelda into a true gaming event. The latest in the storied franchise came out alongside Nintendo’s newest console the Switch to the ravest of reviews this past March. While I can’t say Breath of the Wild lived up to the overwhelming amounts of hype that surrounded its release, it is a fantastic game – one of my personal favorites in a series not exactly short on superlative outings – and a bold reinvention for the 30-plus year old franchise Continue reading