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THE UNFINISHED SWAN - July 17th, 2014

Just when I think I’ve seen everything in video games, something completely different comes along.  Giant Sparrow has created a very unique experience with The Unfinished Swan.  I was immersed in the world until the very beginning (which is interesting since you start in nothing) all the way until the very end.  The idea of literally painting your path and the world around you was brilliant.  I love games like this that have a unique vision and keep you guessing about what will happen next.  This is another one of those games where it’s hard to explain why it’s so special in words and just has to be experienced (much like Journey, which ironically has a very cool nod in this game).  At the end of the day I just want to come out of a game with a worthwhile and memorable experience, and The Unfinished Swan gave me just that.

SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS - July 13th, 2014

This game blew me away.  I think epic is the most appropriate way to describe it.  It’s basically one huge boss fight after another.  The scale of the colossi is incredible and the unique ways in which you have to defeat them makes this game a thrilling and addicting experience.  Much like Ico, Team Ico has created something very memorable with Shadow of the Colossus.  I really appreciate that Team Ico creates experiences in games that I’ve never seen before.  All of the colossi were really fun to battle and I couldn’t help but admire the magnitude of every encounter.  I cannot wait for The Last Guardian - hopefully more information about it is released soon.

ICO - July 11th, 2014

I can completely understand why Ico was so highly praised when it was released all those years ago.  Team Ico has created a unique experience that is hard to explain in words.  I think it has to be experienced to truly understand what it’s like.  There’s not much music.  There’s not much dialogue.  There’s just you protecting and leading a mysterious girl through a castle.  I think Ico is much like Journey in the sense that it’s the actual “journey” you go on that is the memorable aspect of the game.  I think the fact that the developers force you to literally hold the hand of Yorda to lead her around makes the bond you develop very strong and the ending that much more memorable.  There’s cool puzzles and there’s fighting off creatures - but I think Ico is about much more than that.

INFAMOUS 2 - June 29th, 2014

Infamous 2 was one of those games that consumed my life until the credits rolled.  It improved on the original in pretty much every way possible and I loved it.  The gameplay is extremely addicting and the system for leveling up powers makes it impossible to not want to keep playing.  On top of that, the overall storyline, narrative, and characters were very well done and improved from the original as well.  The melee combat was also an extremely fun aspect - especially when there was large groups of enemies around.  I loved the variety of enemy encounters and the unique ways in which you could dispose of them.  The boss battles were jaw dropping as well.  I got very drawn into the story and characters, and there’s lots of opportunities to choose what kind of “hero” you want to be.  I loved everything about Infamous 2 - which is probably why I’m loading up the Festival of Blood DLC right now.

INFAMOUS - June 16th, 2014

I think Infamous is one of the most unique open world games I’ve ever played.  The powers that you are granted and the ease of maneuvering around the city makes this an extremely fun experience.  There is tons to do in the city and you can do whatever you want whenever you want.  I also really liked how you had the choice of being good or evil.  The unique powers that you gradually unlock create very fun and interesting ways to take down your enemy - and I loved it.  I also really loved the comic book style cutscenes.  This game may be a little dated in terms of graphics, but it’s the gameplay that makes Infamous what it is.  I can’t wait to play Infamous 2 and Second Son.

TRANSISTOR - June 1st, 2014

The talent of Supergiant Games is obvious.  Much like their first game Bastion, Transistor left me with a very immersive, unique, and memorable experience.  The art and environments are extremely well done and very original.  The originality of the atmosphere and game world make for an unpredictable and mesmerizing journey.  The voice acting from Logan Cunningham is (not surprisingly) top notch yet again.  I loved the soundtrack as well.  The combat system was also very unique and made for several fun and challenging encounters.  It seems like Supergiant Games have a very solid formula for making a great gaming experience - incredible unique art direction, amazing voice acting and soundtrack, and an engaging and immersive story.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

RESISTANCE 3 - May 19th, 2014

I think Resistance 3 finally added what I thought was missing from the series all along: characters that I actually cared about.  I thought this game did a good job of adding heart and human emotion to the series.  Much like the previous games, there were plenty of jaw dropping moments (train ride..) and the gameplay was very fun with lots of variety.  There’s several new weapons introduced that were really fun to use.  Definitely my favorite game out of the series.  Overall, I thought Resistance 3 was a memorable journey that felt more polished and heartfelt than its predecessors.

RESISTANCE 2 - May 8th, 2014

Resistance 2 kept what made the original game so special and then added more to make it even better.  Adding Chimera boss battles was a nice addition and made for some really memorable and thrilling encounters.  I still consider the unique world and atmosphere the significant strengths of the Resistance series so far.  The art direction is amazing, the gameplay is fast paced and fun, and the overall storyline is intriguing - however I still believe the characters of the series are not particularly memorable.  I’m excited to see what Insomniac Games did with Resistance 3.

BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS - March 29th, 2014

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a perfect example of innovation in games.  I was extremely impressed with how the developers crafted the gameplay to involve two characters at once.  The fantasy world that you’re dropped in was also  very well thought out and breathtaking to look at.  I thought this game was interesting because understanding the story relied mostly on just human emotion alone.  I didn’t understand the language, but at the same time I understood what had to be done and the love that these two brothers shared together.  The bond that you form throughout the game makes for a really unique and unforgettable conclusion.  I went in to this game not knowing what to expect - and came out pleasantly surprised and consider it one of the most unique experiences of the year.

THE STANLEY PARABLE - March 23rd, 2014

It’s not very often a game like The Stanley Parable comes along.  Davey Wreden has created something special.  I loved how the point of this game was to question the norm of typical narration and choice in video games.  I was amazed at how brilliant the (story?) was crafted and how witty and humorous the narrator of the game was.  I don’t think I’ve laughed out loud so much while playing a game.  What’s even more brilliant about The Stanley Parable is that the end really is never the end.  I restarted the game several times and it was extremely funny how your actions throughout your time with the game generate new lines and actions from the narrator.  If you want a mind boggling, funny, and unique take on the narrative driven video game, play this.  But make sure you play it lots of times.  Because the end is never really the end is never really the end is never really the end is nev..

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