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Video Game Review: ‘Journey’ Achieves Perfection Again on PlayStation 4

Journey video games on PlayStation 4

CHICAGO – “Journey” is a gentle breeze. It approaches gradually – alighting your skin and igniting your thoughts with its poetic brilliance. It’s as much a game as it is an exercise in interpretive storytelling and emotional art design, and everybody – gamer and non-gamer alike – should play it.

Video Game Review: ‘Life is Strange Episode 3: Chaos Theory’ Propels the Series Forward

CHICAGO – After playing Life is Strange shortly after its launch, I thought it was the type of game that would make a minor splash then fade relatively quickly into obscurity. The concept was genius, but the execution, particularly in terms of visuals and dialogue, was severely lacking.

Video Game Review: ‘Life is Strange Episode 2: Out of Time’ Asks a Lot of Players

CHICAGO – Dontnod Entertainment struck potential conceptual gold with “Life is Strange.” Iterating on Telltale’s point-and-click episodic narrative adventure formula, they’ve crafted a truly intriguing world that begs to be explored through the lens of protagonist Max Caulfield’s eyes.

Video Game Review: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ is an Iffy Connection

CHICAGO – Sometimes you get a freebie. While seemingly millions of other players were cursing the house that Houser built, stuck waiting for “Grand Theft Auto: Online” to load the first tutorial mission, I was already in and playing a day after launch.

Video Game Review: ‘Lost Planet 3’ Has Warm Heart, Cold Gameplay

LostPlanet31.jpg

CHICAGO - If you ask me the first console game to get giant robots punching each-other right is the N64 Cult Classic “Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon”, which is strange because that game is the most absurd thing I ever played.

Video Game Review: ‘Rayman Legends’ Defies, Delivers

Ray1

CHICAGO - It’s scary that I live in a world where that most gamers didn’t start with the Nintendo Entertainment system like I, and my peers, did. Having the first three levels of “Super Mario Bros.” memorized, playing “Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles The Arcade Game” until the way-too-late hour of 11pm on a school night, and nearly ending friendships over “Battletoads” were experiences I once thought universal to all game players.

Video Game Review: ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ is a Devilish Delight

CHICAGO – Despite being a massive game, the best parts of “Grand Theft Auto V” are the little details: The way whiskey sloshes around in a glass, how characters show up to cut scenes in their custom saved cars, how surfboards litter the beaches, the numerous dynamic touches like the radio updating you on a given happening you had a hand in, as well as little narrative details that hint at “GTA V” being about something a little bigger than it lets on.

Video Game Review: ‘Madden 25’ is Compelling But Careless

Madden 25

CHICAGO – I don’t know if “Madden 25” wanted to slap me in the face each time I loaded a game, but it did, and my cheeks are still red. Practically every load screen in the game features some tidbit of “Madden” history, things like “Madden was the first football game to feature 11 players on both sides of the ball” and “Madden 2006 featured the now infamous vision cone”. Which, in theory, is cool - I’m a gaming enthusiast who’s bought this game every year since 2003, sometimes twice depending on the platform, and the chance to relive the memories of “Madden”s gone-by is a welcome experience. Until you think about it. For all the features these loading screens tout, few remain. I lament the loss of my precious “Weapons” system, Madden IQ, surprise onside kicks, and, yeah, even that bastard yellow vision cone.

Video Game Review: ‘Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist’ is a Blast

CHICAGO – A part of me likes thinking that somewhere in the Middle East, an American like Sam Fisher is prowling. Clear and present danger abound, mind racing with a dozen different ways the next few seconds could play out. A guard wanders close to his hiding place. Does he take them out with a silenced bullet to the head? Show mercy and knock them out - or simply let him walk by?

Video Game Review: ‘Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall’ is a Quality Jungle Gym

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall

CHICAGO – I’m of the mind that the most enjoyable video games are often times, in a way, toys. “Grand Theft Auto”, “Far Cry 3”, “Minecraft”, “Red Faction: Guerrilla”, and even the best sports games like “NBA 2K13” and older “NCAA Football” titles all contain features or elements of gameplay that tickle the tinkering part of a player’s imagination.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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