Category Archives: Video Game Reviews

NBA 2K17 Review

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“As great as MyPark and Pro-Am are in theory, both modes’ leaderboards are too full of players that appear to have paid their way upward. Regardless of where MyCareer gameplay happens, the slog of leveling eases with NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency, which can be bought in amounts that range from $2 to $100. While gameplay skill factors in, high player ratings carry obvious and substantial impact, with less urgency to improve for higher VC payouts. Never mind how this comes at odds with the hard work and success theme of Aaron Covington’s story.”

Read my full NBA 2K17 review at Polygon

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On Madden 17 and Ultimate Team

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“Beginning with FIFA 2009, the Ultimate Team feature quickly escalated into a mainstay, the result of that dream-like, pretend billionaire culture. It’s a distinctly American thing in terms of pro football, if seemingly stronger post-recession when this all took off. Built on the idea of artificial scarcity and tantalizing reward screens, Madden 17’s Ultimate Team reaches a crescendo. Pyrotechnics flare when menu surfing. There are flashing lights, tempting countdown clocks and shimmering gold borders, all reaching maximum gaudiness in Madden 17.”

Read my full thoughts on Madden 17 via Paste Games

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Dangerous Golf and Jackass

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“There’s a touch of innocent social consciousness to the work. Dangerous Golf ribs America’s food obsession by staging scenarios in stocked kitchens. Australian levels exist in a deserted gas station, the only landmark for miles. France-based challenges impart their snooty admiration for fine art and museums. The British show off their castles, stocked with suits of armor, lit by stained glass. It’s quaint, a bit of friendly joking with national stereotypes. ”

Read my full feature on Dangerous Golf via Playboy

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On Nathan Drake and Uncharted 4

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There’s a normal life to consider. This is where Drake resides during his time off. Reaching near death in the deserts of Uncharted 3 must have slowed his adventurous sense, forcing him to reconsider what matters. He now dives for treasure as part of a salvage company. A video game protagonist with a playable day job—how odd. The Mario Bros. may be plumbers, but they’ve never unclogged a residential toilet in-game.

Read my full feature on Uncharted 4 on Playboy

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On MLB: The Show 16 and Chaos

MLB(R) The Show(TM) 16

“Sony’s San Diego Studio has been working on The Show since 2006; they’ve spent years building up these details. Their organic approach to sports simulations is unparalleled, enough to oust their rival 2K Sports from the world baseball games entirely as of 2013. San Diego Studio’s baseball has matured into an unpredictable, dicey, and irregular sim. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be baseball. 2K couldn’t catch up, so they dropped out.”

Read my feature on MLB: The Show 16 via Playboy

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Devil’s Third is the Anti-Nintendo

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“Few will consider Devil’s Third a landmark. It’s a real world anachronism, beginning development in the late 2010s, looking and playing as if it’s from ten years earlier than that, and not coming out until 2015. Storytelling rolls out as if a parody of Itagaki’s style: ninja warriors at the government’s employ, the essence of a spaghetti western, lots of bad guy Russians, and the fantastical involvement of political subtexts such as Guantanamo Bay.”

Read my full feature on The Devil’s Third at Playboy

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The Division (PS4) Review

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“A vocal computer AI calls out bad people as targets. Markers aim predominantly at people in hoodies, UbiSoft socially blind to the real world stigmas they’re perpetuating. Then they make The Division’s government-led vigilantes equally villainous. Men in hoodies are killed for looting dead bodies; Division members loot their victim’s corpses. No one comments on the ethical paradox.”

Read my full review of The Division at Review ‘Em All

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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (PS4) Review

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Garden Warfare’s sequel is $60, runs on the technical background of EA’s multi-million dollar Battlefield series, needs a $300 console or super charged gaming PC, and has no tutorial. After five hours of play, it’s still unclear what Garden Warfare 2’s stars are for. Being connected online for a thin solo campaign, you cannot pause – you play when EA says you can. You can’t play on your bathroom break because you’re not allowed a bathroom break.

This is PopCap’s output now.”

Read my full Garden Warfare 2 review at Review ‘Em All

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On Punch Club and Poverty

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Punch Club becomes a trap of seemingly inescapable poverty. Fighting earns limited income—a tattered ring and 15 or so odd spectators won’t pay bills. There’s no money in scrub leagues and no way to become a pro without ranking up. Pizza delivery pays better, but siphons happiness. It’s a miserable existence. Punch Club rapidly becomes a cycle of eat to work and work to eat. Anything in between is luxury.”

Read my full piece on Punch Club on Playboy

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On Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege_20151202145133

“By excising a narrative (Siege is stuck almost entirely online) UbiSoft insists they’re avoiding politicization. Instead, it’s the opposite. They’ve turned suburban shootouts nameless and faceless. Terrorists wear masks so they cannot be identified. Victims are as ignored as they are in mainstream media. Brief video interstitial segments note “orders and protocols are irrelevant,” a powerful line which in five words frames much of American police saga.”

Read my full review of Rainbow Six Siege on Medium

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