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

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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

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

Doom (2016) Campaign Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

While I was looking forward to Doom (it came in at number 19 on my most anticipated games list earlier this year), I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Doom delivers an extremely well-crafted FPS campaign that harkens back to shooters of yesteryear with its run-and-gun style and labyrinthine map layouts. If you like to shoot things in video games, this is a must-play Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #9-Portal 2

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Puzzle-focused adventure games have become rarer over the years. In general, the 7th generation of consoles pushed games in a more action-oriented direction. Even the revival of old-school point-and-click adventure games headed away from puzzles in favor of a greater focus on narrative and choice. So it is with wide-open arms I welcomed Portal to the gaming world Continue reading

Lara Croft Go Review

by Matthew Thompson

Lara Croft Go is both a follow-up to Square Enix Montreal’s 2014 mobile game Hitman Go and a new entry in the experimental Lara Croft offshoot of the long-running Tomb Raider series. Surprisingly it also feels like a love letter to Lara’s early adventures back in the ‘90s Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #11-Assassin’s Creed II

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

A new entry in almost every series featured on this list would garner some excitement from me ranging from “Oh my god I need that game right now” to “I will definitely play that”… except for this one. Yearly Assassin’s Creed sequels following the second game, including the particularly disastrous third numbered entry in 2012, led to the worst case of franchise fatigue I have experienced since the Tony Hawk series was run into the ground back in the PS2 days and left me with little interest in Ubisoft’s flagship series going forward. That is quite the shame because with Assassin’s Creed II coming in at number 11 on this list, it is clear that once upon a time it showed the ability to be a top-tier gaming experience Continue reading

The Games of E3 2015: Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst

by Matthew Thompson

(Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting impressions and reactions to some of the games shown off at E3 based on info I’ve gleaned from watching demos and interviews online. Enjoy!)

There was no game I was more curious to get info on at E3 than Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. I’m a massive fan of the original and while I recognize its flaws, I also feel what it got right it got very right. With Catalyst, they are essentially rebooting the series which can be a scary proposition for any fan. But from what I was able to gather from E3, I can get behind where things are headed with it Continue reading

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Review

by Matthew Thompson

Wolfenstein: The New Order caught me by surprise and ended up being one of my favorite games of 2014. I also happen to love the new trend of standalone downloadable expansions that has sprung up in recent years, so The Old Blood seemed right up my alley. And I certainly enjoyed my time with it, but a number of factors kept it from reaching the heights of its predecessor Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #14-Castle Crashers

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Castle Crashers is like one of those classic beat ‘em ups you used to feed your quarters to in the arcades as a youngster, but designed for the modern console era. It follows that same gameplay template where you are moving along and mixing it up with baddies from that familiar point of view, but it feels more fleshed out here which makes for a much more complete game. The result is the genre’s crowning achievement and my favorite of the new brand of smaller downloadable titles that the seventh generation’s increased online connectivity ushered in Continue reading