When has any other game ever included offbeat, observant moments like these? These sequences are not only moments to breathe in between breathless action sequences; they are moments to truly imbibe the sadness and stillness that permeates the entire experience. In that sense, Heavy Rain is very much a game about depression.
The early stages of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 3: The Oracle don’t lead you to believe that the unfolding mystery will continue to grow in intensity, but plot twist after plot twist reveals a story where each new shock is greater than the last. Phoenix Online Studios goes above and beyond to keep players at the edge of their seats for the entirety of their playthrough. If you’ve followed Cognition from the first episode, expect a big payoff as the story elements begin to come to a head in the penultimate entry of this point-and-click adventure series.
The Hulk is one of my all time favorite comic book characters. Although the Hulk’s mainstream face is that of a subdued scientist who combats the mutated, impervious demon within thanks to Bill Bixby’s subtle performance in the Incredible Hulk television show and Mark Ruffalo’s charming spin in The Avengers, he’s a far deeper character than that. The Hulk represents out of control ID, science gone awry, and heinous parent-child relations. And, of course, a rage-beast who smashes everything in sight, including military personnel, super-villains, and super hero allies depending on mood. In other words, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner’s alter-ego is the perfect video game protagonist.
2013 has already proven quite the year for the 3DS. Who could have guessed that Nintendo’s handheld would have the most exciting software library of any console this year? It’s only the first quarter, but the platform already hosts Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, with more games on the way (some of which are titles we covered in part one of our look at the 3DS onslaught).
In part two, we turn an eye toward the rest of the year. First, we’ll run through the titles that will most likely get localized given the overall popularity of their brands. The last two, however, are up in the air despite how interesting they look. Put up enough of a ballyhoo on Twitter and publishers may change their mind.
PAX East’s magic lies in its ability to bring together all aspects of the gaming industry — developers, gamers, and press. The three-day nerdapalooza is a rare opportunity for those three segments to mix and mingle in a surprisingly laid-back environment.
I had the pleasure of doing just that with Katie Hallahan, designer & PR director for Phoenix Online Studios. Fittingly, Katie and I met and sat in front of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center’s Phoenix Theater to discuss Phoenix Online Studios’ new adventure game series, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.
I defeated zombies, possessed puppets, and knife-wielding skeletons with a whip. I tossed axes and exploding flasks while leaping around catacombs and flooded prisons. I fought a powerful nightwatchman in a lengthy, difficult three-stage battle. These battles occurred during my first couple of hours with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, conflicts that on the surface would normally identify the game as part of the Castlevania series. Yet, it doesn’t feel like Castlevania.
Cognition: An Erica Reed Story Episode 2: The Wise Monkey, the second in Phoenix Online Studios new adventure game series, improves upon the previous episode in nearly every way. Erica’s new case and the related mysteries make this go around extremely personal for our Psion detective. With a new psychic ability in Erica’s arsenal and great storytelling, the $9.99 The Wise Monkey is one to pick up.
Have you ever become so immersed in an episode of CSI or Law & Order that you’ve fantasized about being in the detectives’ shoes? Well, stop here and buy the $9.99 Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode One. The point-and-click adventure-mystery game puts you in the shoes of the Boston FBI’s very own Erica Reed who’s tasked, along with her hacky doughnut-eating partner John, with tracking down a potential serial killer. But what sets this redhead Boston native apart from the other detectives is her ability to tap into a psychic ability she’s had for as long as she can remember. Her powers are not as childish as Matilda or as heinous as Carrie, however. Erica can sense certain objects and visualize their previous movements; an ability that grows stronger and evolves as the game progresses.
Of all the lofty ambitions possessed by game developers, trying to make a game that appeals to multiple age groups must be one of the toughest. Such a game has to capture the elusive “Mario” quality of being imminently accessible without being dumbed down – challenging, engaging, and meaningful for children and adults alike. It’s an incredibly precarious balancing act for any developer to attempt, much less one trying to make a puzzle game about vocabulary.
Yet when it comes to the Scribblenauts franchise, developer 5th Cell is clearly onto something. The series, now in its fourth installment, has gone from a famously problematic DS game to a major multi-platform release. True to its promise of family-wide appeal, Scribblenauts Unlimited has now found a home on the one platform most families own: the personal computer.
Rarely does a video game make me question my own nature, but that’s one of the many brilliant elements of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series.The latest installment, Episode 3: The Long Road Ahead, ups the morality ante once again by forcing players to make extremely difficult decisions in the name of survival.