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Video Game Review: Return to ‘Skyrim’ with ‘Dragonborn’

CHICAGO – During my younger and gainfully underemployed days, I would troll abandonware sites for free games, downloading obscure gems ad nauseum to the point where my under-powered Acer Aspire desktop PC’s four-gigabyte hard drive was brimming with some real classics (and a few stinkers).

Video Game Review: ‘Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage’ is More of the Same with Sprinkles on Top

CHICAGO – I sat on my porch in balmy 56 degree December weather. It was windy for New England, but having spent years in Chicago it felt mostly like a light breeze.

Video Game Review: Easy to Kinect with ‘Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth’

CHICAGO – Good but not great, “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth” falls cleanly in the kiddie category of superhero video games, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Set in a solidly interactive array of environments, twenty different characters from the Marvel Universe duke it out in a variety of play styles including co-op, arcade, and vs., and the end result is dynamic, hi-energy, ham-fisted fun.

Video Game Review: ‘Need For Speed: Most Wanted’ Plays Like J.J. Abrams Film

CHICAGO – I am not (by any means) what you’d call a gear-head. I’m the guy who skips through the car reviews on “Top Gear” to get to the challenges, I’ve changed oil twice in my life, and my current sick ride is a 2001 Chevy Lumina with a bum tail light.

Video Game Review: ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ Brings Changes But Keeps Strengths

CHICAGO – Entering a freshly crowded field of first-person shooters, “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” had a lot of buzz behind it. The good news is that the game virtually matches the hype. This is absolutely on the upper end of the get-it-while-it’s-new list. Those who have criticized Activision for turning “COD” into an annual cash cow simply have little to complain about here. Almost everything has been given the once over and improved upon.

Video Game Review: ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ is a Cruel Mistress

CHICAGO – About a year ago, after a particularly fruitful perusing of my OkCupid quiver, I started up a conversation with a very sweet girl named Maria. She was in law school, liked cats, bad reality tv, drinking heavily, and wearing heels that made her appear about a foot taller than she actually was.

Video Game Review: ‘WWE 13’ is the Ultimate Playground

WWE 13

CHICAGO – Wrestling games have always been a curious genre. They’ve always treated matches as if they’re actual athletic competitions, where one guy is attempting to beat the other guy within an inch of his life and pin him or make him submit. This is problematic since we all know that a real pro-wrestling match is more akin to a heavily muscled dance number than an actual fight (though they both get colorful outfits) and the excitement of a match - innovative moves, heightened drama, near falls - are all but absent in the “wrestling is real” gameplay model because simply put, the better you are, the shorter and less fun your matches will be, especially against the historically brain-dead AI you find in wrestling games.

Video Game Review: Good Luck Bonding With ‘007 Legends’

007 Legends

CHICAGO – It starts with a moment from Skyfall in which Bond is shot by a sniper as he fights on top of a train. Falling helpless into a river he has a series of flashbacks which form the basis of the rest of the game. It’s an apt setup for a game that suffers from loss of vision and ultimately has all the energy of a project that is in desperate need of rescue.

Video Game Review: ‘Forza Horizon’ Takes Series Down New Roads

CHICAGO – I’ve spent hours driving around the varied landscapes of “Forza Horizon” and I’m still not 100% sure what to make of it. It’s undeniably accomplished in terms of what matters most to driving game fans — the mechanics behind the wheel — and shouldn’t that be all that really matters?

Video Game Review: ‘Silent Hill: Book of Memories’ Makes Odd Addition to Franchise

Silent Hill: Book of Memories

CHICAGO – With “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” sucking rotten eggs in theaters both critically and at the box office while “Silent Hill HD Collection” gets more quality gameplay out of old titles remastered than the new “Silent Hill: Downpour” does out of a brand-new experience, it’s an odd time for this legendary franchise. Into the questions about the vitality of its future comes “Silent Hill: Book of Memories,” the first PlayStation Vita game in the series and, technically, the 9th game overall.

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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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