Wolfenstein was one of the game's responsible for the first-person shooter, being responsible for spawning a genre that is still alive and kicking (not to mention extremely successful) in the current generation. One thing the original Wolfenstein was lacking was a plot, outside of the bare bones “kill all Nazis that you come across.” It's ironic then that over twenty years later the newest entry in the series, Wolfenstein: The New Order, would be praised for it's tightly woven narrative above all else. You'll come for the gunplay and the action, but stay for the interesting characters, inventive ideas and unique setting.
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When it comes to polish in video games, Nintendo is the absolute king. The company will take one idea, such as the original Super Smash Bros., and continue to polish and tighten it with each iteration until it has the glisten of a diamond. While the original game was fun, each new iteration in the Smash Bros. franchise has continued to add new ideas, refine existing ones and strengthen the overall gameplay to a level where fans are left wondering “what else can Nintendo do?” Nintendo answers that question in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with two words: “A lot.”
The Order: 1886, once poised to be the breakthrough hit of the PlayStation 4, recently came under fire days before it's official release. A YouTube member, who had somehow acquired a leaked copy of the game, recently put the entire game up as a Let's Play series of videos; while this was shocking in and of itself, the real shock came from the game's playtime: just over five hours. In the days leading up to the release of the game, fans found themselves questioning if the game is worth it despite the short length, and sadly the answer is a resounding no.
Near the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo graced gamers with what is arguably the greatest Zelda game of all time: A Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. While the 3DS version game didn't feature much in the way of changes or additions to the Nintendo 64 original, gamers everywhere were just satisfied to finally play this classic on the go. After the release of Ocarina of Time, a release of Majora's Mask felt like a sure thing; after all, the games released on the same system, used the same engine, and if the 3DS could handle Ocarina of Time, then it could surely handle Majora's Mask. While those fans ended up having to wait a few years, their patience was rewarded when the spectacular Majora's Mask was finally released on the Nintendo 3DS.
Dead Island was something of a surprise hit last generation: A zombie game that relied more on melee attacks than gunplay. While the melee combat was solid, the rest of the game fell apart at the seams due to some strange design decisions and a story that ultimately went nowhere. Developer Techland blamed the faults of the game on the publisher, stating that it was pressure to get the game released that led to many of the issues. Now under a new publisher, can Dying Light show the world what Techland can do?
Despite being a relatively new franchise in the grand scheme of gaming, Dragon Age has had a rough time. The first game, Dragon Age: Origins, was met with praise all around; it was a return to form for Bioware, incorporating all the lessons they've learned throughout the years into one magnum opus. After being assimilated into Electronic Arts, work began on a sequel, Dragon Age 2, which fell far short of its predecessor. While the combat was praised, the game was frequently panned for reusing environments and losing the sense of mystery and exploration that the first game reveled in. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bioware promised a return to form, a game that provided the combat from Dragon Age 2 with the large scale world of Dragon Age: Origins. Did they succeed?
The porting of Grand Theft Auto V to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was one of the worst kept secrets in gaming history. Fans knew it was coming, various retailers leaked the fact that it was coming, but all fans could do was play the waiting game. When the game was officially announced, the conversation turned from “when is it coming” to “what is it going to add?” A valid question – with the game already at a discounted price on the previous generation's systems, Grand Theft Auto V would need plenty of extra bells and whistles to justify a full $60 cost. Luckily, it succeeds in this aspect.
It wasn't until 2012 that gamers stood up and took notice of Far Cry. PC gamers were fond of the original game in 2004, but that game never really caught on with the console crowd, while Far Cry 2 had some interesting ideas but was ultimately mired in poor gameplay decisions. Maybe it's because the bar was set low that Far Cry 3 blew us away with its story, characters, vast open-world gameplay, the seamless integration of wildlife with firefights, and the wealth of activities to undertake. Far Cry 4 had a huge task to undertake when it came to creating a game as memorable as it's predecessor, and Ubisoft's inspiration seems to be taken from the old adage “If it's not broke, don't fix it.” In other words, this game could easily have been Far Cry 3.5.
In gaming, sequels are an opportunity for a development team to take an established franchise, cling to what works and then shake things up a bit: a new setting, new character, or new features, for example. Call of Duty is one of those franchises that flew in the face of this, offering nearly the same game with every iteration; you'd frequently find the same B-movie military story, the same multiplayer, and even in later games, Activision would frequently bring back old rehashed Call of Duty multiplayer maps. For awhile, sales numbers were through the roof, as gamers flocked to each new iteration regardless of how repetitive they were, but then something changed: Gamers stopped buying. Call of Duty: Ghosts underperformed compared to its predecessor, prompting a change – the biggest change yet for the Call of Duty franchise.
In development for over five years, Destiny was poised to take the gaming world by storm. Bungie, who routinely struck gold with each and every game in the Halo series until their departure from Microsoft, were ready to innovate the first-person shooter world yet again. To that end, they teamed up with Activision to create a game that they claimed was part first-person shooter, part massively multiplayer online game, and part role-playing game. Halo meets Borderlands meets World of Warcraft, if you will. It was truly an ambitious project, with gamers wondering if it would even succeed. Now that Destiny is finally upon us, does it live up to its destiny or is it Bungie's first flop in over a decade?
There are a few constants in life: death, taxes, and Madden. Every year, without fail, brings us another iteration in the classic (and only) football franchise available on the market. This year is no different, and so Madden NFL 15 releases on nearly every console currently available: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4. Sorry, Wii U fans, but you'll have to make due with last year's version, as the game isn't being released on your system. For this review, we're going to mostly concentrate on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions due to these versions being the definitive version of the game.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition marks the third time in three years that Blizzard has released the core game. In 2012, we were treated to Diablo III on the PC, a game that featured a fair number of missteps (the auction house being the biggest one) that threatened to topple what was once of the greatest gaming franchises. In 2013, Diablo III saw release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, adding a number of enhancements that showed us that underneath all the grime of the 2012 PC release was an amazing game. The PC version eventually received those enhancements plus an expansion pack, finally transforming the game into the greatness it was always meant to be. 2014 brings us Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, representing the final culmination of everything Blizzard has learned in the past three years.