Dread is a powerful thing. When strong enough it can control our every action or even lead to complete shutdown and inaction. My first time playing Naughty Dog's seminal masterpiece, The Last of Us, four years ago was filled with an ever growing sense of dread and despair. This world was no longer safe for humankind and especially the young child you're trying to protect, who may just be mankind's last chance for survival. Every alley crossed and home searched was just another opportunity for an emotional hammer to be dropped on you until you were completely devastated. I didn't know what was coming, but I knew it wouldn't be kind. Each time that end of the world banjo music started so did my goosebumps.
Control, the latest release from the makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment, is one of the most unique games I have ever played. It's at the same time unlike anything I've experienced before and a glorious amalgamation of all the best parts of classic games like Metroid, Half-life, Resident Evil, and Bioshock distilled into their purest forms. Here's everything that stood out during my 20 or so hours touring the halls of the Federal Bureau of Control and investigating "altered world events" with the help of some telekinetic powers.
Read Part One of our very special series Season One Continued - My First Taste of October Baseball (2020) Any initial nerves surrounding my Major League debut had long subsided. Following a successful first half of my initial tour of the bigs, I emerged rejuvenated and ready to dominate heading out of what I hoped … Continue reading Championships, Dislocated Shoulders, and Trade Demands: My Road to the Show Part 2
My personal athletic accomplishments can best be described as relatively limited. One of the first things I wanted to be when I grew up was a basketball player (after I moved on from hoping to be a sewer worker, so I could meet the ninja turtles). While I was quite good at stealing the ball and would eventually develop into an extremely effective trick shooter, I quickly realized my genetic disposition to being short as hell and inability to dribble probably meant NBA fans would be forever deprived of the next Muggsy Bogues.
Twenty-one years after the original's release, I still count Resident Evil 2 among my favorite games of all-time. It was everything a zombie-loving thirteen-year-old me could hope for in a video game. I didn't simply play the game. I devoured it like one of those aforementioned zombies with a member of the S.T.A.R.S. team. Compliments of an official Prima guide and the lack of any societal obligations aside from attending school, I had managed to memorize the entire game map throughout my 10 or so playthroughs. Every licker's location, every confrontation with the menacing Tyrant, and ever statue puzzle had been embedded deeper in my mind than the latest algebra formulas from my teachers. Raccoon City wasn't just a place to face your fears. It was a place that showed teenage me just what video games were capable of.
For the 14 years since the release of the original Yakuza on PS2, I've brushed off this series due to a woefully misconceived notion that it was just another Grand Theft Auto clone with shiny Japanese trappings. Thanks to one very lazy weekend, I finally got around to playing Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of the original Yakuza that was part of the PS Plus free games back in November. From the opening cinematic before I even pressed start on the main menu, I was immediately sucked in and disappointed in my ignorance having robbed me of over a decade with this wonderfully weird world.
My gaming habits over the past year or so have featured two themes pretty heavily: catching up on old games I missed out on and Metroidvanias. Thanks to the recent release of the Castlevania Requiem collection on PS4, I was able to combine those two cherished gaming pastimes by FINALLY playing Symphony of the Night, a surefire Mount Rushmore Metroidvania title.