Total War: Warhammer

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Varghulfs, vargheists, and crypt horrors throw the best tailgating parties. Go Sportsball!

Game Name: Total War: Warhammer (2016)
Developer: Creative Assembly (Total War has been *around* son. History-based warfare drips from their very walls…. and Alien: Isolation scurries their ducts.)
Platform: PC
Categories: Multiplayer, Multi-Faction, Campaigns, Turn-Based Strategic Overworld, Pause-able Tactics Orchestration, Massive Battles, Gorefest (with DLC),  Fantasy Horror, Board Game Adaptation

May Appeal To: tabletop gaming titans and miniatures collectors, those looking for an entry into the Warhammer world, eye candy sweet-tooths, Lord of the Rings insatiables, and anyone seeking chaotically organic war mongering.
May Repulse: tactile skirmishers looking for quick satisfaction, proud owners of blunting-edge PC technology, comrades whom fear the DLC onslaught, and those craving granular controls over troop positioning.

Comparable To: Total War in all its shapes and forms – this matches those games with the exception of historically accurate Japanese shoguns and muskets being replaced by magically deified fists slamming into the battlefield as volcanic brimstone peppers your throng of hulking, cannibalistic greenskins invading the Chaos Marches. Scale-wise, this is a string of Forged Alliance battles set on end and the overworld strikes me reminiscent of either ‘Disciples’ or ‘Heroes of Might and Magic’. Let’s throw a comparison to ‘Kingdom Under Fire’ out there as well – it’s pretty close.

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Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland Plus

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It’s a linear world, though my pockets still can’t carry it all.

Game Name: Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland Plus (2009 originally, 2014)
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd. (makers of the Ar Tonelico series, Mana Khemia) -http://www.ateliergames.eu/roronaplus/
Platform: PS3, Vita (Reviewed), a 3DS version exists (kind of)
Categories: Single Player, Extreme Crafting, Innocent/Endearing, JRPG, Item Hoarding, Time Management, Assignment Driven, Turn Based Combat, Deliberately Slow Pacing

May Appeal To: event planners, efficiency experts, min-maxers, stat crunchers, inventory jugglers, the young at heart, OCD sufferers, and the Japanese
May Repulse: twitch gamers, violence cravers, Ritalin poppers, anime shirkers, crafting haters, and fundamentally anyone missing the attention span to notice incomplete

Comparable To: the ominously looming time restrictions of Dead Rising just with a de-emphasis on rampantly comedic decapitations; the game also rings true with the overall structure and vibe of Rune Factory 4 though with a declared purpose and direction. This has less ‘Mine’ and 30 times more ‘Craft’ than Minecraft, though the turn-based combat is a no-frills, barely competent vision of literally any other JRPG. Way, way more chipper than Fullmetal Alchemist. Continue reading

The Walking Dead (Season 1)

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Electrified barbwire. Now where did Southern hospitality run off to?

Game Name: The Walking Dead (Season 1) (2012)
Developer: Telltale Games (makers of Sam and Max, The Wolf Among Us)
Platform: PC, MAC, PS4, PS3, XB1, XBox360, Mobile
Categories: Single Player, Traditional Adventure, Morally Gray, Quick Time Events, Low Interaction, Story-Driven, Survivor-Centric, Decision Adaptive

May Appeal To: survivalists and apocalypse buffs, casual gamers, zombie fans, comic readers, protective fathers, and those desiring a quick stroll through a depressing story
May Repulse: those that have had quite enough of the zombie craze, “hardcore” gamers, QTE haters, virtual item hoarders, kleptomaniacs, the squeamish, the nauseous, the religious, and anyone otherwise sensitive to murder, child death, or mutilation

Comparable To: subdued item collection/combining and a smidge more wanton destruction than Sam and Max, not as enchanting/compelling as The Wolf Among Us, tighter and more focused than Heavy Rain, more heartfelt more engaging and less emaciated-butt-kicking than The Walking Dead show, mostly in-line with The Walking Dead comic’s cadence and is distilled to key points in a brand new story Continue reading

SOMA

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I heard you liked loading screens disguised as airlock sequences. Step this way please.

Game Name: SOMA (2015)
Developer: Frictional Games (makers of Penumbra and Amnesia: the Dark Descent)
Platform: PC, PS4
Categories: Single Player, Sci-Philosophy, Morally Gray, Story-Centric, Mild Scares, Stubborn Stealth, Dread, 1st Person Walking Simulator, Environmental Puzzles, Mind Fuck, and Definitively Immersive

May Appeal To: existentialists, thinkers, technophiles, adventure gamers looking for more than a casual juant, indie fans, mold-breakers, and people who want a satisfying story
May Repulse: action-seekers, game manipulators, those that require a high degree of polish or “mainstream” titles, the shallow, scaredy-cats, and people who want satisfying gameplay

Comparable To: similar tone and setting to Bioshock, less freedom and tamer than Alien Isolation, strikingly similar to Amnesia with a heavier narrative, bad guys by the Slenderman School of Not Looking at Shit That Kills You, Myst-style environmental interaction and awareness Continue reading

Alien: Isolation

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Aaagh, my vacant eye sockets! Who has the laser pointer?!

Game Name: Alien: Isolation (2014)
Developer: Creative Assembly (from the awesome Total War Series)
Platform: PC, MAC, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, XBox One
Categories: Single Player, Pure-Stealth, Cat-and-Mouse, True Horror, Repeated and Violent Deaths, Crafting, Sci-Fi, First Person Shooter, Mini-Games

May Appeal To: fanatics of the original “Alien” movie, retro-future nostalgics, stoic horror aficionados, self-flagellation enthusiasts, art lovers, chaoticians, atheists, completionists, the unphased, and those with thick thick skin
May Repulse: fans of the “Aliens” second movie, run and gunners, the squeamish, the anxious, the impatient, the gung-ho, pattern-seekers, the aloof, the undedicated, the rage quitters whom are secretly terrified, IGN employees, and everyone who isn’t strictly in the “May Appeal To” section

Comparable To: (better theme, monster, and environmental interaction than) Amnesia: the Dark Descent, (trickier stealth than) the Thief series, (reminiscent of the first couple Human missions of) Aliens Vs. Predator original, (less BFG and more in line with the intro to) Doom 3 Continue reading