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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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.
The Last of Us was not only the Game of the Year in 2013 at many gaming news outlets, but it was also one of the best games released on the PlayStation 3 period. It's no surprise then that Sony is revisiting the game for the PlayStation 4 with The Last of Us: Remastered, a game that combines one of the best games of the PlayStation 3 with all the horsepower of the PlayStation 4. Why remaster the game, only one year after it's release? Sony claims that many PlayStation 4 owners never owned a PlayStation 3, and the company wants to make sure its crowning achievement gets into the hands of as many gamers as possible. A legitimate reason, and anything that gets us another great game on the PlayStation 4 is only a good thing.
Despite it's popularity in the real world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, franchise has always struggled in the video game market. THQ desperately tried in vain to make the series a contender on the home consoles, but a series of poor choices always kept the franchise one step from greatness. With THQ going under, Electronic Arts swooped and picked up the license, rebuilding the franchise from the ground up as EA Sports UFC. Can this prolific publishing house succeed where THQ could not?
One of the first publicly shown next generation games, Watch Dogs has had its ups and downs since its grand unveiling. What was once supposed to be a launch title for the PlayStation 4 was pushed back into 2014, with the game's once majestic graphics seemingly downgraded for last generation systems. Is the game that was once called a “Grand Theft Auto killer” still worth picking up?
Trials HD was a breakout hit of the last generation, with the game going on to sell over a million copies on the Xbox 360 and propelling the franchise into the hands and eyes of gamers everywhere. It wasn't always this way: The original PC releases attained nothing more than cult status, and it wasn't until Microsoft promoted the Xbox 360 version in its first indie promotion that the series reached a mainstream audience. With RedLynx now being picked up by Ubisoft, the series spreads its wings even further with the newest entry, Trials Fusion, releasing on five systems at the same time: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Trials Fusion marks the first time the series has ever appeared on a Sony console, as well.
If you're a fan of baseball, it's a given you own one of Sony's systems (such as the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4), due in part to them being the only company putting out baseball games. When some companies own an exclusive license, it gives them a reason to slack; after all, with no competition, you're buying the next iteration of MLB: The Show whether it's good or not just to get your baseball fix. Luckily, MLB 14: The Show hits a proverbial home run: Its not content to sit on its laurels and provide only a simple roster update but instead, it gives baseball fans the definitive experience they deserve.
Metal Gear Solid IV was supposed to be the end of the franchise, the final tale in the Metal Gear Solid saga, but mega franchises never die. There will always be a way to fit one more entry into the overarching story, and so we have Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the latest Metal Gear Solid game from Konami and esteemed creator Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has received its fair share of criticism leading up to launch, ranging from a short completion time to being called nothing more than a glorified demo, but does the game hold up in the face of criticism? That depends on just how big of a Metal Gear Solid fan you are.