Playdate: The Good, the Bad, and the Cranky

There is a certain sense of childlike wonder that only a quality handheld console can elicit. Nothing is quite like the promise of fun anywhere provided by a AA battery-draining Game Boy. Sure you may have spent half the time trying desperately to get the light just right to see the screen in the car … Continue reading Playdate: The Good, the Bad, and the Cranky

Horizon Forbidden West: The Good, the Bad, and the Robot Dinosaur Apocalypse

One of my favorite gaming experiences of the last generation of consoles was Guerrilla Game's 2017 hit, Horizon Zero Dawn. Bolstered by a thrilling post apocalyptic world that melds the primitive with the high-tech and a breakthrough performance by Ashly Burch as the outcast Aloy, HZD established a character and setting with seemingly limitless potential … Continue reading Horizon Forbidden West: The Good, the Bad, and the Robot Dinosaur Apocalypse

Hades Is 2020’s First Masterpiece

The most overwhelming year in recent memory has been kind of an underwhelming one in gaming with an abundance of good games (Ghost of Tsushima, Streets of Rage 4), plenty of masterful remakes/remasters that deal in nostalgia over establishing something revolutionary (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Final Fantasy VII Remake), and a few big shots that just missed out on greatness (sobbing uncontrollably in the general direction of The Last of Us: Part II). While this is to be expected as game companies seem more focused on kicking off the next-gen due in November than making the final year of the current-gen's dominance all that memorable, it's still a tad disappointing. Thankfully, the team of superstars at Super Giant games decided to change all that by releasing the first truly remarkable gaming experience of 2020 with their clinic on how to make roguelikes accessible and fun for all known as Hades. In lesser hands, Hades might have just been a slick indie that gets people excited for a week or two and moves out of the collective memory, but under the careful toiling of the creators of two of my personal favorites, Bastion and Pyre, it manages to crack the roguelike code by making death the best part of the game.

The Last of Us Part II: The Good, the Bad, and the Impossibly Bleak

Without a moment's hesitation, I can say that my favorite game of all time is Naughty Dog's 2013 masterpiece The Last of Us. It's a beautiful tale of crushing loss and survival in a zombie-ravaged future that is filled with an overwhelming sense of dread in every crevice but also manages to contain moments of unparalleled beauty. While the series could have easily ended with the first game's heartbreaking finale (more on that later), the mega-hit was clearly always going to get a sequel. So how do you possibly follow-up the greatest game of all-time, and how will that game play out when it coincidentally releases in the midst of a global pandemic? The answer, it turns out, is quite complicated.

Control: The Good, the Bad, and the Bureaucracy

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.