Greatest Platformer Ever!? (Rayman Legends)

Game: Rayman Legends
Genre: Platformer
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Switch (in development), Xbox 360, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Completion Time: 9 hours
Average Critic Score: 90/100
My Score:
95/100

Here we go again, another platformer. Listen I’m sorry, but since I started this whole thing I’ve realized that platformers are great for casual gaming. They’re easy to get used to and you can put them down and pick them up weeks later without missing a beat. That’s just the way it is, but I digress. The Rayman series has been around since 1995 and it’s never ceased to weird me out. I remember playing Rayman 2 back in the day and thinking to myself, “where are his arms and legs?” and “how does he get his hair to spin like a propeller?” Needless to say, Rayman left me with more questions than answers. But I was young and naive then and now I’m slightly older but not much wiser.

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Diablo’s Baby Cousin (Bastion)

Game: Bastion
Genre: Action-adventure, Role playing
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Completion Time: 7 hours (Main levels)
Average Critic Score: 87.6/100
My Score: 85/100

Sorry I’m a bit late this week. School has been kicking my ass lately. Anyway no need to worry, I’m here now and I must admit, I missed the boat on this one. Bastion initially came out in 2011 when I admittedly was still in high school playing Call of Duty and Minecraft. Not that there’s anything wrong with those games, they just consumed virtually all of my free time, but that’s beside the point. This is 2017 and I want to talk about Bastion gosh darn it! Because if you haven’t played this game, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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A Modern Puzzle Classic (Peggle 2)

Game: Peggle 2
Genre: Puzzle
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Completion Time: 6 hours (main levels)
Average Critic Score: 79.8/100
My Score: 90/100

I’m breaking all the rules this week! Well maybe not all of them. Really just one. Usually I talk about games that you can play on any of the three major platforms, (PC, PS4, Xbox One) but I had to make exception just this one time because this game holds a special place in my heart. If you haven’t figured it out by reading the intro, this week’s spotlight is Peggle 2. All awkward E3 moments aside, (click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about) Peggle 2 is a casual gamer’s best friend. This game was released in back in 2013 so I guess I’m a little late to the party but I felt that it would be a perfect fit for what this blog is about.

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Straight Outta the Trenches of WWI (Battlefield 1)

Game: Battlefield 1
Genre: First-person, Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Mature
Completion Time: 6 hours (campaign)
Average Critic Score: 89.5/100
My Score: 97/100

This week we have one of the best selling games of 2016; Battlefield 1. This post is going to be a little different than the last two since this game also has an online multiplayer component. Anyway let’s get into it.

Boy is this game fun! I thought about it and this is probably the most fun I’ve had with a FPS game since Modern Warfare 2 and that’s saying a lot. Overall the game is fantastic but what really stood out was the graphics. The game just looks beautiful. The sound design is also fantastic. You really feel like you’re getting down and dirty in the trenches of war.

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New Games This Week (March 6-12)

Tuesday, March 7

  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • Nier: Automata (PS4)
  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • Lego Worlds (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey (PC, PS4, Vita)
  • Clicker Heroes (PS4)
  • Darknet (PSVR)
  • Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival (PS4, Vita – with cross buy)
  • Disc Jam (PS4)
  • Gem Smashers (PS4, Vita)
  • Loot Rascals (PS4)
  • Shift Happens (PS4)
  • Sublevel Zero Redux (PS4)
  • Talisman Digital Edition (PS4, Vita – with cross buy)
  • Total Jigsaw (PS4)
  • Unearthing Mars (PSVR)

Wednesday, March 8

  • Verdun (Xbox One)

Thursday, March 9

  • Blaster Master Zero (3DS, Switch)
  • Voez (Switch)

Friday, March 10

  • 2Dark (PS4)

Mystery in the Wyoming Wilderness (Firewatch)

Game: Firewatch
Genre: Adventure
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: Mature
Length: 4.5 hours
Critics Score: 8.1/10
My Score: 9.5/10

Imagine this, your name is Henry and you’re a forest fire lookout in Wyoming in 1989. I bet it sounds kind of boring but that’s the exact setup for Campo Santo’s 2016 game, Firewatch. Of course the game itself is much more than just a fire lookout simulator.

The gameplay of Firewatch is simple yet effective. Much of the game is spent exploring the surrounding wilderness alone. To navigate this world, you’re given nothing but a map and a compass which works for the most part. Sometimes I found myself traveling down the wrong path because I was misreading the map but the compass helps that in a big way. You also get a walkie-talkie which is used to talk directly with your supervisor, Delilah. At any point in the game you can bring up the radio and report to Delilah on just about anything.

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What really stands out about this game is the story. As you admire Firewatch’s beautiful landscape you’ll find yourself thrown into a mystery full of tension, humor and tough decisions. Within 15 minutes of playing I was sucked in. It was like sitting down for a few hours with a good book. The characters are compelling and the voice work made in-game conversations feel natural; so much so that you forget that for most of the game you’re just walking through the woods.

Another selling point for Firewatch is the visuals and the music. The game has a day-night cycle that makes great use of warm and cool color tones. Every scene looks like a panoramic landscape. I found myself stopping at times to just admire the nature around me. The music does a great job giving you the feeling that you’re in the lonely and sometimes terrifying wilderness.

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I read a bunch of reviews before sitting down to write this and most of them talked about how anti-climactic the ending was. I can see how the ending would leave people feeling disappointed but I personally liked it. At first I was underwhelmed but after sitting down and thinking about how the whole story played out, it made sense to me.

As you can see, I gave Firewatch a 9.5/10. I would have given it a perfect ten but the ending just wasn’t enough. From the five sites that I look at in my research, they each gave Firewatch the following scores:

  • Metacritic:
    • PC – 81/100
    • PS4 – 76/100
    • Xbox One – 85/100
  • Game Informer – 7.75/10
  • IGN – 9.3/10
  • GameSpot – 7/10
  • Polygon – 8.5/10

Firewatch is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox one.
 

Inside

Game: Inside

Genre: Puzzle-platformer, Adventure

Rating: Mature

Length: 3-4 hours

Overall Rating: 9.2/10

I’m sure most gamers have heard of the game Limbo even if they never played it. Limbo came out back in 2010 and quickly became one of the best reviewed and most played indie titles of the year. The game received acclaim from critics and consumers alike.

Fast forward six years to 2016 and Playdead, the developer of Limbo, is set to release another title. The game, titled Inside, follows a young boy in a dystopian city as he navigates his way through a series of mind-bending puzzles (watch the trailer!). Like Limbo, Inside is praised by critics and instantly becomes one of the best games of the year.

Full disclosure, I have not personally played either of these games though they are both currently sitting in my library. I just don’t have the time right now. That’s the whole point of doing this though; to find games that don’t take long to finish but still give a satisfying, full experience.  Either way, I did research on multiple sites and found that Inside typically took people 3-4 hours to finish, depending on whether they just finished the story or also found all the unlockables. You might think that’s not a lot of content but you have to remember that the game only costs $20. Inside is a puzzle-platformer adventure game and it’s available to play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Like I mentioned earlier, Inside was given very favorable reviews and the five game review platforms that I look at in my research gave the following scores:

  • Game Informer – 9.75/10
  • Metacritic
    • 87/100 (PC)
    • 91/100 (PS4)
    • 93/100 (XONE)
  • IGN – 10/10
  • GameSpot – 8/10
  • Polygon – 9.5/10

As of right now I haven’t played this game but I plan to in the near future so once that happens I will share my experience with you all.