The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 ‘A Crooked Mile’ Preview

Crooked Mile

The next episode of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us is releasing this week on April 8th and new stunning facts are about to be disclosed. Fabletown is living a true horror scenario with the mysterious serial killer on the loose but Bigby, as well as other Crooked Mile factions, seem to be getting closer to the truth. Will they finally get a glimpse of reality? Or will they get misled by devious information again?

Episode 3: ‘A Crooked Mile’ Preview

In the last episode, Smoke and Mirrors, Bigby faced many twisted facts. Snow White’s death was nothing but a glamour delusion, the Woodsman proved his innocence, Toad seems to be involved with the real murderer, and Georgie Porgie became the prime suspect. But the most stunning revelation was done at the end of the episode, when Bigby finds solid evidence that incriminates Ichabod Crane. Now, in A Crooked Mile, everyone’s trying to catch the hypothetical guilty one. But if there’s anything to be aware of with the past two episodes is the fact that what normally seems to be ends up being something else. So, I’m quite confident that Ichabod is not the killer. He might have been involved with the murdered girls somehow but that’s probably all there is to discover.

Telltale Games has recently launched a release trailer for the third episode with more accurate information about the upcoming events. Watch it here but be aware of the spoilers:

Destroying the Mirror will disable Bigby from finding Crane and anyone else.

1. Ichabod Crane: Innocent or Guilty?

Every lead points towards Crane but there’s something that doesn’t feel right. Mostly because Telltale has been producing deceitful facts one after the other, which makes me think this is just another play. But that’s not all. Even if a few facts may incriminate Crane, where’s the motive? He seems to have affections for Snow White, despite his terrible temper. In fact, he deeply mourned her death and he seemed genuinely miserable about it. On the other hand, his escape seems a bit off. I know, when you run away it means you’re guilty… normally. But if you’re being framed for something you didn’t do and there’s no way to prove otherwise, then running away might seem the best solution for the time being. I think that’s the case, thus why Crane destroyed the magic Mirror. That way, no one will be able to find him. And who knows, maybe new leads will be found in the meanwhile.

The Tweedles – Is it just business?

2. The Tweedles: What’s the Catch?

The Tweedle brothers are always intervening in this case. Whenever Bigby finds something, they are either ahead or aware of the new lead. They are supposed private investigators but what’s the catch? Who is their client and what’s his/her interest in finding the real murderer? Or perhaps, it’s the real murdered who’s trying to gather every bit of information concerning the murder cases. That way, he could always be one step ahead of Bigby and assure he’s never caught. But there’s another option. It could be someone willing to take over Bigby’s position. Finding the real murderer before the sheriff, would prove that Bigby is rather incompetent and poorly suitable for his position. Regardless their real purpose, the Tweedle brothers are determined to accomplish their goal no matter the costs and they’ll return for another fierce and steady rivalry.

Grendel has done something terrible and the Woodsman is not so happy about it.

3. Grendel and the Woodsman: Trust and Betrayal

The Woodsman proved his innocence in the last episode. He might be an indecent man but he’s no killer, at least that’s what he claimed. But can the same be told about his friend Grendel? This fable monster is normally aggressive and unreceptive. More, he’s truly dissatisfied with Bigby lack of results. Would it be surprising that he has taken action into his own hands? In the new trailer, Grendel and the Woodsman can be seen fighting. What’s left to know, however, is why the two friends are being hostile towards each other.

Changes are coming to Fabletown under the name of Bluebeard.

4. Bluebeard: Wind of Changes

With Crane gone, the presidency seat is empty but not for long. Bluebeard, a rich and famous fable will step up and get a hold of the town’s management. The curious fact is that Bluebeard used to be a serial killer, however he seems to be a bit different now and devoted to his new ambitions. Power is always a main attraction for the wealthy ones but could there be any hidden motives behind his presidency desires? If by any chance Bluebeard killed Faith and Lilly, then it would make perfect sense to frame Crane and take his seat – security guaranteed.

The big bad wolf will reveal his true form in A Crooked Mile.

5. Bigby: Losing Control

Since the ending of episode one, Bigby has been previewed to lose control and assume his true fable form – a big and frightening werewolf. It seems that episode three will feature that anticipated moment, where for some reason Bigby will embrace his wild shape. Will he be forced to break his humanity to fight back? Or will pressure and commitment lead him to a breakdown? I’m not sure what will make him go wild but one thing is for sure, it has to be a very strong and meaningful event.

6. ‘You Have No Idea of What’s Going On’

In the end, players really have no clue of what’s going on. And no matter how much prediction is done, there are always a couple of unexpected revelations that turn tables around. In the new trailer, a female voice resembling Holly’s states: You have no idea of what’s going on. Do you? And that’s exactly how I would describe the storyline until now. Nothing is conclusive, everything is uncertain. But isn’t this surprise element that keeps the story going? What makes players engaged and thrilled with the next episodes? It’s obvious that this play-act will eventually end but for now, it will continue as fierce as ever.

BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea – Episode 2 Review


Bioshock Infinite was a bit of a bizarre game. It released to nearly endless praise, only to be called the most overrated game of 2013 weeks after the dust had settled. From the story to the gameplay, it has become quite polarized in its reception as time goes on. Burial At Sea: Episode 1 promised to be as compelling as Infinite, though struck out because of its short length and abrupt conclusion.

Irrational Games assured us that Burial At Sea – Episode 2 would be an intriguing and concrete finale to the series, and it really followed through in this regard.

Burial At Sea – Episode 2 has you playing the role of Elizabeth for the first time in the series, and after a brief and beautiful introduction, picks up exactly where Episode 1 left off. Avoiding spoilers, if you remember what happened at the end of Episode 1, you’re about to have your mind blown at all of the insane twists and turns that are around each and every corner of Episode 2. Like Infinite as a whole, Irrational made the story just as bonkers as before. They managed to tie up Infinite quite nicely, even if there are some iffy parts thrown in.

One of the main problems I had with Infinite and Episode 1 was that they seemed to juggle too many ideas at once, which caused the story to be convoluted and puzzling. The original Bioshock told a story that was JUST as insane, yet made every single twist clear and concise without leaving the player ever feeling unintentionally confused. Episode 2 has the exact same problem that Infinite has, in that you will often wonder what exactly is going on, even when the credits roll.

It’s disappointing to see that they couldn’t flesh out the ideas more, or tell them in a way that doesn’t damage the story itself, but it’s become expectation with Infinite and its DLC at this point. When you manage to figure out everything that has transpired, you will appreciate the story as a whole, as it’s definitely up there on the intellectual scale, offering unique ideas and perspectives that are often not told within the realm of video games. It never manages to hit the level of something like the original Bioshock in my opinion, but it’s a refreshing plot told well if nothing else.

bioshock BAS2

As mentioned earlier, Episode 2 has you controlling Elizabeth. It’s very nice to finally get to see the world through her eyes, as she was undoubtedly the best character in Infinite, and shines even brighter in this piece of content. Every single piece of dialogue Elizabeth speaks is music to the ears, and the writing of her character is top notch. Her personality is strong and consistent, and she’s intelligent, witty and offers a lot of class to the game.
Beyond her, characters such as Atlas and other familiars from Bioshock make their appearances, and it’s wonderful to see them again. Part of what made Bioshock so appealing were the eccentric, deranged, and psychotic characters, and after a brief display with Cohen in Episode 1, we get to see a lot more into the minds of several other standouts.

Unlike Episode 1, Episode 2 doesn’t tease you with the characters. What were brief and seemingly unimportant glimpses at old fan-favourites, become essential key scenes to the plot in Episode 2. They never feel shoehorned in, and it’s actually a pleasant surprise that Irrational gives more insight into the story of the original Bioshock, as well as some of the lore of Infinite. These types of things make the plot and characters very fulfilling for long-time fans, and actually helps with the theories that people have created in response to the often ambiguous aspects of this universe.

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Even though the setting and characters are familiar, the gameplay has been drastically changed from Infinite and even Episode 1. No longer are you a gun-toting death machine with octopus vigors and the ability to spawn crows as personal kamikaze fighter jets. Nor are you guessing where the hordes of enemies are hiding and spawning as you get filled with so much lead, that you’d be considered a lethal weapon in some countries. The idea now is that you’re a female Solid Snake. Stealth is the name of the game, and Elizabeth with her vast knowledge, excels in this practice. You must use your new vigors to stalk from the shadows, your sleep-dart crossbow to render foes unconscious, and your occasional weapon to defend yourself when you make a mistake in your tactical approach.
Enemies are laid out cleverly in most areas, but are less in numbers. You will rely on being quiet and using the environment to your advantage to sneak from safe zone to safe zone, as any direct engagement will often lead to your demise. Elizabeth lacks a shield, but makes up for it with her wit.

When not taking part in stealth, you’re often exploring a meticulously designed world filled with nods to previous entries in the franchise and solving basic puzzles to progress. It’s a bite-sized original Bioshock in this regard, as the world is dark and beautiful, but hauntingly devoid of life. Every room is filled with ruin and destruction, but also the leftovers of what was once a beautiful city.

As usual, the set pieces are designed with care in such a way, that you’ll often find yourself stopping to read the many vandalisms and propaganda spread throughout. The environments themselves never get bombastic or over the top like some of the key sections in Infinite, but the design is top notch regardless, and the urge to explore every nook and cranny remains ever present.

bioshock BAS2

Though not perfect in any way, Burial At Sea – Episode 2 delivered a praise-worthy finale to the somewhat disappointing first episode. It wraps up Bioshock Infinite as a whole, while injecting new life into both Infinite and the original Bioshock’s lore. There is a lot of content for people to play with here, and like Infinite, I suspect that Episode 2 will spark endless debates.

Final Score: 8/10

You Should Have The Forest On Your Radar


Have you heard of The Forest? The Forest is an open-world survival game being developed by Endnight Games that will be going into early-access on May 22. It is a game that struck me as both beautiful and disturbing, and each time Endnight releases a new trailer for it, I find myself getting more and more excited.

On March 19, Endnight released the third trailer for The Forest, detailing more of the late game shenanigans.

Here’s our third trailer, showing a more extended look at some of our survival systems and also what life is like in the forest a little further into the game.

The first thing I noticed when I saw The Forest was that the game looks undeniably gorgeous. It is possibly the most technically beautiful indie game I’ve seen considering the lighting effects and particles, and It’s shocking that they’ve managed subtle things like reflective water on bodies and seemingly dynamic wildlife. There are serene qualities to the graphics that boost the atmosphere and make the game feel oddly welcoming. That is, until they take any sense of safety away and throw hordes of hideous creatures your way.

That stark contrast plays well into the games atmosphere and makes the encounters even more startling. The balance between reprieve and horror seems to be an idea they’re keeping in the forefront, as each trailer shows off tranquil scenarios which slowly lead into the things nightmares are made of.

Furthermore, if you consider that the AI is programmed in such a way that the cannibals might watch from a distance or stalk you rather than engaging in all out combat, it seems that there will be many terrifying and exciting moments that make The Forest memorable.


Beyond this, the gameplay seems to revolve around survival and crafting. Everything from cutting down trees and building structures, to hunting, fishing, trap-making, and weapon crafting. All of these elements combined really make it feel as if you will be fighting for survival. How deep they make the system is something we will have to keep an eye on, but if it’s anything like what the trailers are hinting at, every single choice and action could be life or death.

The more Endnight teases The Forest, the more I want to sink my teeth in. If the trailer above left you wanting more, head over to these links for more survival horror goodness.

Dark Souls II Review

Dark Souls II

The most admirable thing about the Souls series is that it isn’t afraid to take risks. While most games hold the players hand and teach them absolutely everything, Souls lays out the bare foundation and sets you off on your journey. You are given naught but the basics and must learn the rest through exploration and experimentation, finding your own way through the dark.

I couldn’t be happier to say that Dark Souls II is every bit as challenging, rewarding, and utterly brilliant as its predecessors, even if a few of the changes weren’t for the better.

Dark Souls 2 2

Dark Souls II has you playing the role of an undead as he/she attempts to remove the curse that is cast upon him/her for reasons unknown. Like the previous entries in the series, the plot is told in an interesting way in that it denounces any sort of cutscene/expositional format, and instead has you searching for the answers yourself. This can be done in several ways, from engaging in dialogue with NPCs as they spout off vague clues, or reading item descriptions that tell tales of old and fill in the blanks.

The game never beats you over the head with what is happening, and you might even find yourself unsure of what has transpired after completing your journey, only to encourage you to delve deeper and find the answers for yourself. It is a very rewarding and mysterious way of telling a story, and it is enhanced by the wonderful characters introduced to you within your approximately 60 hour journey in Drangleic.

From the ever tricksy Mild-Mannered Pate to the crestfallen Lucatiel of Mirrah, you’re bound to fall in love with the eclectic cast of characters. Benhart of Jugo, the Scottish Knight obsessed with his beloved sword becomes a sort of friend and companion, while Gavlan, a bearded dwarf, offers you broken English and a place to sell your wares! You’re always hoping to run into someone interesting, and like the previous Souls games, Dark Souls II is no exception.

Dark Souls 2 3

Like the NPCs, the world design is colourful, grotesque, and fascinating. Each area feels as if it were torn out of a high fantasy novel and transformed into a macabre setpiece. From vast forests made from the corpses of giants, to a pirate cove built within a dank, dark cavern, you will always want to take a moment to ponder what you’re seeing. Sweeping landscapes with frightening, yet comforting horizons grace every corner, and utterly hideous sights are placed to contrast the beauty of Drangleic.

The enemies you will face in each area help keep that fragile atmosphere in check with their placement and designs. Each time you venture into a new area of Drangleic, you will run into a myriad of new enemy types. They never feel out of place, instead, feel perfectly natural, as if you just happened to encroach on their environment.

The bosses are much the same, in that they feel like the truly do live in this world. The design of the bosses in Souls are always a selling point for me, as the artists at From Software know how to make tired ideas captivating and frightening. Each boss you will face is more surprising than the last, and they all have their own subtle design and attack patterns that make them a thrill to fight.

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All of this is rendered within Dark Souls II’s updated engine. Boasting advanced lighting and particles, this game successfully shines brighter than ever before, though it comes at a cost. The textures in Dark Souls II are noticeably lower in quality, and it is jarring to walk into a beautiful castle with hilariously awful textures in some of the objects. I never found that the textures detracted from the atmosphere or design, but it is noticeable to say the least.

Luckily, the frame rate has improved drastically over Dark Souls, with no areas being even remotely comparable to the infamous Blighttown. It’s somewhat impressive considering the lighting they have crafted. Running through a corridor with a torch is often thrilling, as it seems like lighting was studied religiously before implementation. The shadows are wonderful and spooky, and walking into a new area just to see ash from a flame glimmer through the rays of the sun is breathtaking in some locales. These kinds of aspects really further the atmosphere, making dusty ruins feel filthy and untouched, and coasts of the seemingly endless shore feel tranquil and serene.

The music in Dark Souls II is as memorable and gorgeous as Dark Souls before it, and each track was made with respect for the environment and boss encounter it coincides with. You will have your typical God choruses and strings sections, but they do manage to transcend other staples in the genre, while offering a more bizarre twist.

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Beyond the more artistic side of Dark Souls II, the gameplay remains mostly unchanged. The combat is still weighty, deliberate, and offers visceral swordplay that few games achieve to this magnitude. There are still many builds you can create, from a Katana wielding Thief to a spell slinging temple knight. Magic has been overhauled this time around by allowing the player to essentially ‘level up’ spells capacity and damage, while giving mages the option of a strong and weak attack. Archery was also revamped by allowing a player to move while firing arrows. Little things like this have been expanded upon in Dark Souls II, and it makes a lot of the game feel even more refined in the end.

Unfortunately not all of the changes are for the best, as a statistic called Soul Memory has somewhat ruined the co-operative aspects of Dark Souls II, putting players not only behind a level wall, but a skill wall as well. Soul Memory calculates the collection of souls you’ve attained throughout your journey, and pairs you up accordingly. This sounds nice in theory, but makes summoning a much rarer activity. This truly becomes a problem when you attempt one of the bosses that are clearly designed for co-op, yet cannot find a buddy to help you. Though I could delve deeper into the numerous small changes, like most of the things in Dark Souls II, it’s best to explore and discover for yourself.

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Dark Souls II is an absolute colossus of a game. It features almost unparalleled amounts of meaningful customization, bizarre worlds to explore, repulsive bosses to conquer, and endless secrets to discover. It is not only better than Dark Souls, but it might be one of the best RPG’s I’ve ever played.


Final Score: 9.5/10

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 2 ‘A House Divided’ Review

House Divided

A House Divided is the second episode of Telltale Games The Walking Dead Season 2 and it’s a direct continuation of the first episode, where Clementine got separated from her friend Christa and met a new group of survivors. The beginning of the second episode depends exclusively on the last choice made in All That Remains. That same decision, saving Nick or Pete, will generate a different start and some other minor events.

The new episode is filled with stunning revelations and intriguing choices that hold profound consequences. In fact, A House Divided is an episode dedicated to choices – with so many dilemmas and divergent opinions, players are forced to step up and make their own path.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2
The most intense action moment happens at the end of the episode, when the windmill malfunction triggers a walker invasion.

1. Gameplay: Interactive and Exhilarating

Gameplay Score: 8/10

Episode two continues to deliver a dynamic and interactive gameplay, where decisions really matter. A House Divided is extremely focused on the narrative and the power of decision. As so, action and combat encounters are mainly secondary and symbolic. There’s definitely a huge discrepancy between playable and cinematic moments. However, this is one of the main characteristics of an episodic graphic adventure game and I’m just glad Telltale Games has done it right. The gameplay is fluid, thrilling and exhilarating. And even if playable moments are not as common as I’d wish, the episode just feels right – it has cohesion, consistency and realism. Unlike the previous episode, A House Divided has less loop holes and surreal events.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2
Conflict reigns the second episode, even crossing a bridge generates divided opinions among the group.

2. Narrative: The Drama Generator

Narrative Score: 9/10

Drama and traumatic moments have always been part of The Walking Dead franchise and in this new episode things start to get really ugly once again. Clementine had found a new home in the last episode but now she’s on the run again. But this time she has company, the cabin group hits the road to escape Carver and a whole new adventure begins. A House Divided presents a narrative replenished of multiple rise-up and consecutive fall down moments. And between revelations, discussions, disagreements and betrayals the story couldn’t go on without a few tragic deaths. In my opinion, the whole narrative has become more interesting, realistic and profound.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2
Clementine becomes the group’s recon, since she is smaller and has a tremendous agility.

3. Innovation: A Step Forward

Innovation Score: 8.5/10

Innovation seems to be one the main keys in A House Divided with the introduction of several new playable elements. Surveilling the area with a pair of binoculars or having the chance to use different environmental weapons at a specific time surely gives a new whole touch to the gaming series. The game has become more customizable and unique – players’ choices don’t just affect the storyline, it also creates a sensation of power, possession and control.

4. Performance: Almost There

Performance Score: 8.5/10

The second episode ran almost perfectly. I’ve played it twice and I’ve only experienced one crash. Despite that little incident, the game runs very smoothly and efficiently on maximum resolution. I didn’t find any bugs or errors.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2
Before the ending of the episode, Carver kills at least one survivor.

Overall: It Keeps Getting Better and Better

I must confess that A House Divided surprised me in a good way. The first episode of this season started in a mediocre way, there were endless unrealistic aspects and the story itself was a bit too mainstream and predictable. Now, it seems the story is back on track and Clementine is far from finding safety and a stable shelter. She’s in trouble, as well as everyone else related to her but at least, divergences can be put aside now. With Carver and his group as the prime enemy, they must unite forces to escape and survive. Let’s hope Telltale can keep the standards high for the following episodes, because this one was surely an astonishing result.

Pros: Choices that really matter; thrilling and realistic post-apocalyptic narrative.

Cons: Lacks action and combat encounters; short playable moments.

Tested On: PC


Final Score: 8.5/10

Braid – Review


For various reasons Braid does not fit to current gaming industry. It has no zombies, no shooting not even a multiplayer. It is an old fashioned 2D platformer with main focus set on logical elements — clearly, it does not sound like a recipe for a success in present times. So, what should be expected from a game prepared according to such formula? Without exaggeration, one of the most unique experience of the decade!

Braid was in production for three years. That is a lot, especially for a game that can be finished during a single afternoon. However, as soon as you start it you will realize that none of this time was wasted. Every element of Braid is incredibly polished: The graphic design is delightful, the music is delicate and soothing, the story is intelligent and most of all: the puzzles are diabolically clever. It gets even more impressive once you realize that Braid is basically a one-man project — besides graphics and music all work has been done by Jonathan Blow — a man gaming industry needed for a long time.

Blow filled his game with lots of references to the most famous representative of the genre — Super Mario Brothers. Tim, main protagonist, jumps on the heads of enemies to get rid of them, avoids deadly plants coming out of pipes and hurries to rescue the princess. What is more, one level is a reminiscence of a classic Donkey Kong stage with ever higher platforms connected via ladders. However, Braid is far from being a simple copy — Blow took all these staple elements, mixed them with technical novelties and fresh design and created a game that is both old school and modern.

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As in any platformer, in Braid you have to move from the left to the right side of the screen, jump a lot and try hard to omit any obstacles. Okay, you don’t have to try that hard to omit obstacles. That is because Tim posses a very special sort of abilities — he can manipulate time flow. If you fall into the pit or get hit by a goomba you can always go back in time and try once again. It does sound like pretty much of a facilitation but main purpose of this game is not avoiding death but solving puzzles and to do that you will have to master Tim’s abilities.

The game is divided into several chapters — world as they are called — in every of them time manipulation mechanic is different. For example in world four time flow is directly connected to Tim’s movements — when he goes right time flows forward and when he goes left time reverses. In another chapter he can create a shadow of himself existing in parallel dimension that will precisely repeat the path he had taken before time reversal. In yet another one, Tim carries a ring, which when dropped will slow the time locally

In Braid there are 60 puzzle pieces, 12 per world, and to gain access to the last chapter you will have to gather them all and subsequently assemble five pictures. The game allows for a little nonlinearity here since you don’t have to collect puzzle pieces in any fixed order — fortunately, because getting each one of them requires solving a conundrum and doing that on the very first attempt can be problematic.

The quality of puzzles is rapturous. Starting slowly with almost effortless tasks the game gradually throws at you more and more demanding both intellectually and dexterously challenges. Yes, this game is difficult. Frequently frustrating, but that’s the beauty in it and precisely the reason why Braid is so compelling. Every piece collected is a success, every problem solved a triumph and it gets addictive — you cannot simply walk away from an unbeaten puzzle. Gameplay gives horrid amounts of satisfaction and the more time you spend on a single challenge the more rewarding it feels once finally your brain clicks and solution lies bare in front of your eyes. I fear to imagine what a fiendish mind must it take to craft such conundrums.

Concept of time plays a big role in Braid — appearing not only in gameplay but also the story. The plot is told by fragments of books, placed at the beginning of every chapter, giving us insight into Tim’s thoughts or describing events from his life. Also, these text introductions are neatly connected to new mechanics appearing in subsequent worlds — that gives Braid something unique: a coherency between two aspects of the game. This correlation between mechanics and story is perhaps best visible at the dramatic ending where time manipulation is used directly as an instrument to depict the plot.

At first sight the story feels quite fairy-tale. Tim strives to rescue his beloved princess, whom he lost for unknown reason. It may look trivial but do not be deceived by appearances — in fact it is a depressing tale about unfulfilled love and human inability to undo past mistakes. Well, you wouldn’t expect that kind of seriousness from a game that looks like a pastel painting but it fits in well and acts as a pause between sets of effortful puzzles. However, there are fragments that seem overly enigmatic or incomprehensible at all.

With all its virtues Braid ends far too early — it takes from six to eight hours to finish. However, it is six to eight hours of unique, almost perfect gameplay endowed with stirring and mature story. To me Braid is a real gem — shining brightly among hundreds of other repetitive games — clearly demonstrating that, no matter of budget, with creativity and ambition one can still make excellent games.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Multiplayer Impressions


Treyarch has hoped to bring significant changes to Call of Duty multiplayer by overhauling the create-a-class system, while still ensuring that Black Ops 2 feels like a CoD game. Have they succeeded? Sort of.

In General:

With Black Ops 2, CoD’s graphics are as good as they’ve ever been, but they still leave you feeling like they could and should be better. While there have changes have been made to the engine, the engine itself is still the same one that has been used for years.

As usual, the sounds of CoD are solid. Voice acting is good, guns sound satisfying, and the lobby music gets you rightfully pumped for combat. More importantly, the controls are as tight as ever. It’s simply the classic CoD control system, but somehow it feels better.

The Maps:

This is where there is more to be desired. Not a single map is awful-there aren’t any that I vote against every time they popup, but there isn’t a single map that I consider to be an instant classic. When thinking about great CoD maps I tend to think about Crash, Backlot, Afgan, Crossfire, Rust, not Black Ops 2’s Drone or Hijacked. Each map looks quite different and there is a nice variety in terms of maps of different sizes, but I find myself spending most of my multiplayer time playing the Nuketown 2025 playlist.

Pick 10:

I had high hopes for the integration of the pick 10 system and the reality fell short of my expectations. In Black Ops 2, unlike in previous games, when creating a class you have 10 slots. A primary weapon takes up a slot, a perk, attachment, etc.There are also “wildcards” that take up a slot, but allow you to do something that you couldn’t otherwise do, like take a primary in place of a secondary. Don’t want a secondary? You don’t need one. Want two lethal grenades? There’s a wildcard for that.

This system does allow for more diversity among the types of classes that gamers can create, but it isn’t perfect. Sometimes 10 just doesn’t feel like enough-it feels like you somehow have less equipment than you should be allowed to have. Going along with this, perks have been altered so that they only affect your character and not your weapons. This sounds like it makes sense, but sometimes it doesn’t.

In the past Sleight of Hand made players have faster reloads, now a weapon attachment does that. Personally, I think it would make sense to have a perk that makes your character faster at reloading weapons or have the ability to aim faster. I don’t think that it makes sense to have to attach a fast mag or adjustable stock to do this same thing. Maybe I’m alone in this, but some how, I don’t think so.

Score Streaks:

Kills are still hugely important, but now assists, capturing flags, defending points, and almost everything help you get your streaks. Classics like the UAV and Sentry Gun remain as well as new streaks like the Hunter Killer Drone and Hellfire Missile. The bane of my existence, the RC-XD has made a comeback as well.  This system is similar to point streaks from Modern Warfare 3, but there is only one kind of them instead of the three options presented to you in MW3. Overall, the system works well, but like most things in Black Ops 2 there is room for refinement.


If you loved CoD multiplayer in the past, you’ll still love it in Black Ops 2. If you’ve hated Call of Duty in the past, you’ll still hate it. The emphasis on player choice with the pick 10 system is negated by its short comings and the fact that you have to unlock just about everything. Treyarch has ditched their monetary system that they established in the original Black Ops and like in every CoD game, the rich get richer.

Inexperienced and unskilled players are the ones that need the most help and the best equipment, but they are the ones that rarely get to use it. Should you happen to be a highly-skilled, no-scoping machine, I don’t think that you need a special sight that highlights enemy targets or one that enables you to see and fire through walls.

Black Ops 2 showed promise and looked to bring the most significant changes to the franchise since CoD 4: Modern Warfare and while that may in fact be true, these changes are nothing ground-breaking. True to form the CoD formula is the same, the fans are the same, the haters are the same, and Activision is continuing to make a whole lot of money.pecial sight that detects enemy targets or one that allows you to see and shoot through walls.

Borderlands 2 DLC Review: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty


Borderlands 2’s first batch of story DLC dropped last week. Unless you purchased the Borderlands 2 season pass (four DLC packs for $30), then Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty will cost you $9.99. So, is it worth it? That depends.

It’s worth noting that you do not have to have beaten the main game to access the DLC. As long as your character is a level 15 or higher, you can experience all that Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty has to offer.

The new DLC adds more loot to hoard, a few new challenges for your badass rank, several vast regions to explore, something else to shoot at, new ridiculous characters to interact with, and roughly eight hours of gameplay. The best new feature is Borderlands 2’s first vehicle without wheels that players can actually pilot (you can’t pilot buzzards).

The Sand Skiff looks like something out of Return of the Jedi (and its supposed to). Hover around in one of these for a while, blasting enemies with explosive harpoons, and you’ll certainly feel like a pirate; a Borderlands pirate anyway. Despite the fact that the sand skiff seems to never want to stop moving, it proves to be the most satisfying vehicle to drive on all of Pandora; it just feels better than anything on four wheels.

Something small that I wish was fixed is that it isn’t immediately apparent how to get to the DLC once you’ve downloaded it. To access the DLC, head to a fast travel station and select “Oasis.” After sitting through another Marcus-narrated cut-scene, you’ll find yourself just outside of the town of Oasis just as it is being raided by pirates. After saving the day (naturally) you meet up with who is quite possibly the best of the new NPCs, Shade. This depressingly lonely yet laugh-out-loud hilarious man will get you pointed in the right direction. Then it is up to you which mission you decide to do first.

Just like in the main game, the DLC’s biggest strengths are its characters and room for exploration. Unlike the main game, the story falls a bit flat. its not as bad as the original Borderlands (whose ending infuriated many), but it isn’t nearly as satisfying as Borderlands 2’s either. Another issue is the lack of variety in truly new enemies. Some familiar foes make a return, which is to be expected, but the bigger problem is that many of the pirates are simply the same old bandits that you’ve been slaughtering for hours, but with different skins.

A feature that is much appreciated is that the enemies of the DLC scale to fit the level of your character-sort of. It is supposed to scale, but sometimes the foes at the end of your barrel are a few levels lower than you and occasionally they may be a couple of levels higher than you. The higher your own level, the less difference that this disparity seems to make, but this feature still could have been better.

Gearbox Software set the DLC bar pretty high with the four story-based DLCs it released for the original Borderlands. Unfortunately, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty doesn’t quite meet expectations. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t great.

If you’ve already nabbed a season pass, you’ll likely still be satisfied with the DLC (partially because you got a discount and partially because you’ve already committed to purchasing all four DLC packs). If you are a hardcore vault hunter or just want a little more to the game, download this DLC. However, if you are more casual, don’t plan on grinding a character to max level (50 for now), or don’t plan on a second play-through, unless money is of no importance to you, you may want to consider spending your 10 dollars elsewhere.

Dishonored Review


New IP’s are a huge risk at this point in this console generation, right now gamers are mostly looking for sequels that they have come to know and love, while some of us are itching for something new, something original, something out of the norm to give us a breather from the Call of Duties and the Assassins Creed’s. Arkane studios is here to give us that something new. It is called Dishonored, a first person stealth action game that feels like something between Bioshock, Splinter Cell and Assassins Creed. With the Wii U, Xbox 720 and Playstation 4 just over the horizon will Dishonored be a sneaky success or will it leave us hoping for the new console generation to leap out of the shadows soon?

You play as Corvo Atano, Lord Protector of the Empress of Dunwall. As Corvo arrives from a business trip he was sent on, he is approached by Emily, the Empresses daughter and future Empress of Dunwall. Emily tells you that the Empress needs to speak with you, as Corvo is speaking with the Empress Emily see’s a dark figure in the distance. Corvo immediately draws his sword and gun as he knows something bad is about to happen. You fend off a couple of the assassin’s, killing them with the accuracy of your gun and swiftness of your sword but one man can only do so much. Two more assassin’s leap down, one paralyzing you with his powers and the other shoving Emily out of the way and grabbing the Empress thrusting his sword into her stomach while all you can do is watch. The assassin’s then grab Emily and vanish, leaving you to stumble to the ground over to the dying Empress as she pleads “find Emily, protect her, you’re the only one who will know what to do”. The guards then show up, of course, as you are clutching the dead Empress in your arms then being blamed and taken into custody. It’s a very well played out and emotional opening scene that will get you excited to begin you’re path of justice and revenge.

Corvo is then thrown in jail and after a few months of captivity you escape with the help of an anonymous source who knows you are innocent. This is where the game kicks off as you escape prison and join up with some loyalists who know you are innocent and want to bring justice to the men that framed you. The story is pretty much just as simple as it sounds. You are accused of the murder you did not attempt, then you seek revenge on the people that framed you and took power over the city. There are a few twists in the story but unfortunately they are fairly predictable. However the game is a joy to play from beginning to end even though the story is not that original.

The characters make things a lot more interesting as they are wonderfully acted and voiced. The relationship between Emily and Corvo is done well, as you can tell that Emily see’s Corvo as a father figure and close friend, and at the same time you can tell that Corvo truly cares for Emily even though Corvo is mostly a silent character throughout. Piero is the master inventor and the one who supplies you before your missions with whatever you need. Piero is very subtle and kind of strange as he speaks very softly and slowly. Others think he is creepy but as the game goes on you just realize he is misunderstood and simply has bad people skills. While some of the characters are plain and generally boring, most of the characters are genuinely interesting and you’re understanding of them will change as you get to know them. You will meet many different characters as you are set out on you’re quest for revenge.

The game is set in Dunwall, a fictional city based on a Victorian age London. The city thrives on new industrial technology that runs on whale oil. The rich and powerful rule the city while the poor live on the rat infested streets only to become victim to the rat plague which eventually turns people into walking corpses known as weepers. Despite the overall dark tone of the game it’s an absolute pleasure to look at throughout, and you will notice that from the moment you start. The graphics style could be described as an oil painting in motion. You feel a sense of depression and bleakness as you roam the lower parts of the city where you see mostly grey and brown. Then once you get to the upper parts of the city the colors are vibrant and varied.

Each section of the city is set up as a sandbox type environment which allows you to tackle missions and seek out your targets through many different paths whether it be under the city through sewers, on the streets through alleyways, through dilapidated buildings, or prowling on the rooftops. This provides many options of choice and forces players to think outside the box instead of a linear path that holds your hand like many games do these days. Also once you find you’re target after much investigation, listening in on peoples conversations and doing side missions to help you with you’re quest, the main target can be disposed of through several different means. Sure you can bust in and shoot everybody in the room then stab you’re target in the face if you want. But there are always other options as well. For example one mission gives you the option to poison the targets drink, another gives you the option to knock the target out, strap him to an interrogation chair and brand his forehead with a heretics brand getting him banned from the city forever. There are some truly creative options at you’re disposal here and you will want to eventually try them all to see what happens. This brings up the option of multiple playthroughs as the second time you play a mission can be totally different depending on the path you chose to reach your target and the method you chose to dispose of said target.

The environment isn’t the only aspect of the game that gives you options. The gameplay is very choice driven as well. Throughout the game you will have many different options to take down you’re enemies with. Corvo has magic abilities that are given to him by the outsider, a being that is said to be neither good nor evil, that chooses to grant people special powers for the right reasons. Throughout the game these powers can be unlocked and leveled up as you find runes and bone charms in hidden areas within each setting. There are many powers such as dark vision, which allows you to see through walls, blink, which allows you to teleport short distances making it easier to sneak past guards and onto rooftops, and swarm, which summons a swarm of rats to devour you’re enemies skin right off their bones. As you play through the game you will unlock many other cool powers to satisfy you’re killing needs.

Corvo is also equipped with a sweet looking sword, which can be used to take down oblivious foes with a swift stab to the neck, dispatch enemies quickly if you are surrounded, and it can also be used to block incoming attacks and if timed right can send the enemy stumbling backwards, which obviously you take advantage of with one of many gruesome finishers. Corvo also has two ranged weapons, one a crossbow which is used to take out enemies from a distance more stealthily. The other a pistol, which is used for quick close up kills. Finally Corvo also has a few gadgets at his disposal, such as grenades, spring razors (which act as bouncing betty explosives) and re-wiring tools that can be used to re-wire things such as security doors known as walls of light to hurt you’re enemies instead of you. All of these combat options are available in a wheel that is brought up by holding down the right bumper just like in Bioshock.

The gameplay is extremely fun once you get the hang of it. I would be sneaking through an area (or simply not sneaking at all, whatever you choose) and get spotted, all the sudden being surrounded by 5 enemies at once. I pull up my combat wheel and select stop time (another one of the cool powers) right before one of the guards fires his gun. I move behind the enemy that just fired the gun, time starts back up I  watch the guard that was previously behind me get blasted away by his buddy, I slit the guards throat that I am now magically behind, I pull out my pistol and shoot the guard to my left, turn around and windblast one of the guards to my right causing him to fly backwards onto the ground then parry the incoming strike of the other guard to my right and brutally slicing off his head, finally stabbing the other guard on the ground before he can get up to attack me. All of that being performed faster than it took you to read it. That is when Dishonored is at it’s absolute best, when you perform every move perfectly and come out of a fight truly feeling like a legendary assassin.

Which also brings me to the games two biggest flaws. It takes a lot of time with the game to become that good at it. It took me quite awhile to completely get the hang of things. At the beginning I found myself often switching to my gun instead of a certain power because guns and powers are both used  in Corvo’s left hand and triggered with LT. Therefore if you are hiding behind cover and wish to use dark vision so you can see who is on the other side, you might accidentally select you’re gun and hit LT, firing the gun and giving away you’re position. Even after hours of play when you know how to use everything, you can find yourself doing this because the powers and weapons are so close to each other on the wheel and it can be very frustrating.

Another flaw, which I think is the biggest flaw in the game, is that the game is much more fun to play the way I described above. It is way more satisfying to be able to use all of the tools at Corvo’s  disposal because everything he can use to kill people with is pure fun to use. Every fight can be played out a little differently by mixing up you’re combat and like I said that’s when Dishonored is at it’s best. However the game strongly encourages you to be stealthy, and even punishes you for not being stealthy and killing a bunch of people as opposed to knocking them out. If you finish missions with high chaos, which is what happens when you kill a bunch of people, the city will become darker and more infested with rats and weepers. Essentially making you’re playthrough a little more difficult. Also if you’re an achievement whore like I am, most of the achievements are based on being stealthy and not killing people, so I missed out on all those achievements.

Now, this would not be a big problem if being super sneaky and knocking people out was just as fun as killing people, but its not…not at all. The only two ways to render someone unconscious is to sneak up behind them and choke them out or shoot them with a sleep dart…and that’s it. If you’re thinking well that doesn’t sound nearly as fun as the combat described earlier, you’re exactly right it’s not as fun. This is a big problem because their are different possible outcomes for being sneaky and generally not killing people but it simply wasn’t as fun as being on the warpath of vengeance and killing everyone I saw.  Especially when you get good at it. Now don’t get me wrong it’s still fun to be sneaky and finish a mission without anyone even knowing you were there. In one particular mission at a masked mansion party, I was sent to identify and kill one of three sisters. As I snuck all the way to the mansion without being detected I came across a guest book. I thought hmmm can I sign this? Sure enough I picked up the pen and signed Corvo Atano at the end of the list. The man that was supposed to be hung for killing the Empress signed the guest book at a party he wasn’t invited to, and disposed of the crooked sister without anyone ever knowing he was there. So sneaking through missions can make you feel like a supreme badass assassin as well, it’s just not amazing like it is when all the gameplay elements are clicking.

As a whole Dishonored is an extremely fun and interesting game. It is filled with wonderful characters, settings and missions that you will almost certainly want to experience all over again right when the credits start to roll. The end outcome is a little unsatisfying but everything throughout the game is well worth experiencing to get there, and with it’s tremendous replay value it is most definitely worth you’re 60 dollars. Just remember, revenge solves everything.

Final score 4 out of 5

The War Z: First Impressions

War Z

The War Z released a couple days ago, although I use the word released very loosely. For one, the game’s in its Alpha stage, so this is by no means a full release, or even a beta. Secondly, the launch was, to say the least, plagued with issues. The game was scheduled to come out October 15th, but wasn’t available until around 6:00 PM EST after being delayed hour after hour.

Following this, the client became available, and the download for the Alpha was around 1.5GB if I’m remembering it right. This includes 30% of the full Colorado map that will slowly be increased as we approach the Beta part of testing, which is in the last week of October.

So after you download the game and get in, you make a character and jump into a server. Oops, this is plagued with issues too. Players will constantly get a “client needs updated, please restart” message, forcing them to close the game, and restart, only to find that no update is available. From first hand experience, I can say this is very, very frustrating, as sometimes the game loads painfully slow.

But once you’re able to get in, this is both the best and worst part. The game itself is fun. There’s undead roaming, but the real threat is other players. You’re trying to get guns, water, and food, and you’ll have to deal with real players while you attempt to stay alive. Do you trust them? Kill them? It’s up to you. This is incredibly fun and tense, especially if you have a rare item.

Now for the worst part. The state of the game right now is dreadful. The zombie animations are horrible, the graphics are terrible, and the game crashes tons. I know this is an alpha, but the game should be at least somewhat stable. Worst of all, the developers decided it was a good idea to allow players to be able to kill each other with flashlights in just a couple hits, whereas for zombies it takes around 10 shots to the head.

Despite these issues, The War Z is still incredibly fun, but I can’t recommend you play it if you want any sort of stable experience. Hopefully things will be better by later in October when the beta begins. I’ll keep you updated on anything War Z in the meantime.