Dontnod Entertainment first hit the scene with an action-adventure video-game called Remember Me. Published by Sega after spending about five-years in-development, the video-game received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, and was, at least, a modest success, becoming a Platinum title with a million-copies sold. Nevertheless, perhaps because of the extensive development and various setbacks, Dontnod Entertainment filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. In-retrospect, having played through and completed Remember Me, I regarded it as an enjoyable video-game, and one I thought underlined Dontnod as having potential as a game-developer, but the most unfortunate fact rests in how forgettable Remember Me proved in the long-run. Only a couple years after, however, Dontnod Entertainment appears to have really turned a corner for themselves. With more than three million copies sold by mid-2017 alone, it seems a smaller, less showy, more personal experience resonated far better with gamers. Shedding the action-adventure approach in-favor of a cinematic graphic-adventure akin to Telltale or Quantum Dream, does Life is Strange bring new elements to the genre, or is it something better seen as a benchmark to better projects for Dontnod? Here are my thoughts…
For me and many others, the Gears of War franchise was one of the most prolific in the seventh-generation of gaming consoles and the defining series in Microsoft's second console, the Xbox 360. Gears of War was one of the first video-games I ever played on the 360, and I don't think I've completed the campaign of any game more than Gears of War 2 (five times and having to fight the urge to start a sixth go-around). Through fun game-play mechanics and combat, blending elements from other third-person shooters and seamlessly developing a distinguished recipe, the Gears series also brought high-production cinematic and sound, amounting into a series I always knew it'd be difficult to bid adieu to – especially for Microsoft. Therefore, I wasn't surprised when the original trilogy was followed by Gears of War: Judgment, then, subsequently, Gears of War 4, and honestly, I wasn't disappointed either. Frankly put, I was in the same boat as Microsoft, even if I knew the series had completed from a narrative standpoint, my hunger for the series wasn't satiated. Does Gear of War 4 satisfy that hunger, or is it developed as a milking for one of Microsoft's largest cash-cows? Here are my thoughts..
My review of Kingdom Hearts might not have been as glowing of a reception as “Hearts” enthusiasts might have yearned for, but I did, on some level, enjoy myself. If nothing else, something I always try to do no matter what I'm sharing my thoughts on, is I try to approach what I review with an open-mind, and, if for some reason I feel like I can't do that, I usually don't review it. This is why you won't find reviews of NBA Jam or Forza, or whatever else, because it is very unlikely I'll enjoy it and it's not really worthwhile for me to share my thoughts on something I don't really care about. I enjoyed Kingdom Hearts, but I recognized the issues it had. I recognized the repetitive game-play, the storyline and its superficial grandiose nature, and many of the levels seemed to strew together rehashed renditions of their film counterparts. Regardless, as a fan of Disney films, a fan of the aesthetic and more technical aspects, I was excited for Kingdom Hearts II, hoping it'd improve on the foundation set by its predecessor. Here are my thoughts …
I never really jumped on the Kingdom Hearts bandwagon like a lot of gamers did. I utter the phrase “bandwagon,” not in derogatory fashion. In-fact, had I known more about the series when its initial installment came out in 2002, I would've likely been on-board with the rest of them. Unfortunately, I was six-years old, and it was never a franchise that made its presence known in my household. The concept holds a definite appeal that can't be underestimated, after all. An action role-playing video-game developed and published by Square, Kingdom Hearts tries its hand at blending the settings and characters from Disney series' with those from their own Final Fantasy series, and even better than that, its attempt is done on a very grandiose and epic-scale. Whether or not it was a success is not something I can really decide, per si. The series was a financial success and has spawned several main-entry sequels, spin-offs, and remasters, which speaks volumes about how coveted it is amongst many gamers, it was clearly a success. But – is the series the high-stakes, in-depth, and high-quality franchise it often feels presented as? Here are my thoughts …
After finishing my play-through of Rayman: Legends and discovering a new-found interest in the series, rewarding it a rare “Perfect” score in a review, a rating I've only given to three other video-games in the nearly eighty video-game reviews I've done, I realized I hadn't given the rest of the Rayman series the proper time of day. The first step to remedy has proven decidedly unorthodox. Although it might seem more logical to start from the very beginning, playing the first Rayman on the Original PlayStation and working my way up, I've decided to go straight to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, or Rayman 3 HD as I will be reviewing the remastered version released on the Xbox Live Arcade (available at a reasonable $4.99 and backwards compatible with the Xbox One). If you haven't already experienced Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc for yourself, maybe you're wondering if it's an entry in the Ubisoft series worth checking out. Here are my thoughts...
I've always had a “love-hate” relationship with the Tomb Raider franchise, in that, although I adore the plat-forming and puzzle-solving adventures very much, the series can't resist its urge to repeatedly kick me in the teeth. Skipping over the mere minutes I spent on the Original PlayStation games, where I can only recall vague memories of locking the butler in the freezer, a memory so common I'm not even entirely certain it's my own, my first experience was with Tomb Raider: Underworld. I had fun with it, having played some of the Uncharted series beforehand, and being a long-time fan of Prince of Persia, hanging out with Lara Croft scratched a similar itch. Underworld was a good game. Unfortunately, I encountered a game-breaking glitch more than halfway through that kept me from ever finishing it. Tomb Raider: Legend was fantastic, but the less said about my time with Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, the better. In early-2013, Crystal Dynamics hit the reset-button, rebooting the series and restructuring Lara Croft's origins, opting for a darker, more cinematic approach. Although it was adored by many, and I certainly enjoyed it, it wasn't until Rise of the Tomb Raider I felt we were back in peak form, except for one small mishap – in my first play-through of Rise of the Tomb Raider, near the end, I encountered a game-breaking glitch, forcing me to re-play the campaign of what was, other-wise, a very good game. Developed by Eidos Montreal (in-conjunction with Crystal Dynamics), Shadow of the Tomb Raider marks the end of this re-imagining Tomb Raider trilogy, does it kick the curse? And, better yet, is the new developer at the helm able to properly stick the landing? Here are my thoughts …
Although many moviegoers are likely still riding the high that is being able to see our favorite web-crawler in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whether it be his most recent showing in Avengers: Infinity War or awaiting Spider-Man: Far From Home, however, with that said, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a film worth seeing for all true believers, as well as fans of animation alike. Even if it may not be blowing up the box-office the same way as its live-action counterpart, a better way to look at the film is to compare it with the rest of the Sony Pictures Animation catalog, which includes the highly successful Hotel Transylvania and Smurf franchises. Say what you will about those films, Hotel Transylvania has managed to improve on itself with each installment, starting out with a 358 million worldwide gross for its first film, and surpassing half a billion-dollars in its third. A 350 million worldwide total appears to be in reach for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and with that, I have no doubt we'll be seeing more animated superhero fare in the near future. This also builds credibility for the Sony Pictures Animation, which hasn't had a truly well-received film since Arthur Christmas, usually appealing strictly to a young-audience and adhering to a very conventional formula. Critics have raved about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I've even heard some refer to it as the best Spider-Man film ever made. Is this an example of overzealous enthusiasm (which isn't a bad thing!), for instance, I heard the same thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming, and while it was a fun film, I didn't think it was better than the first couple of Sam Raimi films, or is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse truly up to snuff?
The DC Extended Universe has been ripe with debate and disillusion. Whether it be the stigma it has as badly trying to imitate what was established with Nolans' Dark Knight Trilogy or the sentiment that it's high-scale, low-logic. In my opinion, while I don't necessarily hate the DC Extended Universe altogether, nor do I necessarily want it to approach all of its subject-matter with a light-heart nature akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I definitely think it has a lot of flaws that keep it from being as good of a representation for DC Comics as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is for Marvel Comics. Unless it's a rendition of Adam West's Batman, I think the Caped Crusader is best-suited with a more mature, jaw-clenched approach, whereas I think The Flash is better off with a more light-heart, vibrantly enthused approach. Instead of having every film carry an inherent tone, I think each film should play it out in whichever way best plays to the strength of their characters. As far as what the approach should be for a film like AquaMan, I would say, what I wanted from the film was a charming, action film, that would focus less on exposition and being a high-stake, grandiose epic, and more on energetic, ludicrous fun. That said, here are my thoughts on DC's splashing new fish-into-water story Aquaman.
It seems appropriate we'd segue from my review of Rayman Legends, discussing my criticisms in-regards to the present decline of local co-op gaming in-favor of online multiplayer, to a review of the action role-playing game Ashen. Developed by New Zealand studio A44 and published by Annapurna Interactive, I was excited for Ashen when it was first announced for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (and even more thrilled when it was made available on Xbox's Game Pass subscription service on-launch), enticed by the suggestion of a video-game mixing multi-player with a low-fantasy environment. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to discover Ashen as more of a traditional dungeon-crawler heavily-inspired by Dark Souls, that incorporated online multi-player, which simply isn't what I'm interested in. I think it'd be fair to say that realization deflated by enthusiasm, but, in the end, is Ashen worth experiencing, are the positive-reviews representative of its actual merit, or does its sudden, unannounced release, coupled with its on-launch inclusion with Game Pass suggest it something worth sweeping under the rug? Here are my thoughts …
It can often feel like local co-op has been thrown to the wayside when compared to the presently more prevalent successor: online multiplayer. It never occurred to me how anemic the selection of local co-op outings available on plat-forms are until after I had someone in my life that I could play with on a regular-basis, that being my fiancee. Rayman Legends is the fifth main-title entry in the Rayman series, acting as a direct sequel to Rayman Origins, which was released a couple years prior. Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft, Legends marks the first installment in the Rayman series I've played from start-to-finish. I had some familiarity with the franchise, playing some of Rayman Origins, and owning a scratched-up copy of Rayman on the Original PlayStation. Although it has been too long to speak on my experience with the original Rayman for a review, I can say the reason I never played Origins from start-to-finish is because I think it's an experience that plays best when you have a buddy to tag-along with you. In the midst of waiting for Studio MDHR to release the Cuphead DLC, Beccah and I decided to sit-down and check out Rayman Legends, which I'd owned a copy of for years, but never actually played. Does Rayman Legends scratch the itch I needed scratching, and how is it as an overall gaming experience?
What is Mishmashers (dot) com?
Started in late-2017, Mishmashers.com is a website by brothers Scott Moore and McConnaughay as a way to share their opinion on an array of different topics, as well as shine a light on their written works. Both brothers are passionate about their work and have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to their respected works.
- Perfect (10 outta 10)
- Great (9 outta 10)
- Very Good (8 outta 10)
- Good (7 outta 10)
- Above Average (6 outta 10)
- Decent (5 outta 10)
- Below Average (4 outta 10)
- Bad (3 outta 10)
- Very Bad (2 outta 10)
- Horrible (1 outta 10)
- Godawful (0 outta 10)