[Review] Horizon: Zero Dawn

written by Kate Spencer

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: humans make machines, machines have pretty big flaw that no one notices until it’s too late, machines cause apocalypse, humans now live in a post-apocalyptic world fighting against machines.

I know, I’ve just described The Matrix, Terminator, and countless other stories. The hubris of humankind when creating machines is a theme that’s so well-tread that we all fear Siri will one day rule the Earth…after she tells us “drool the mirth” isn’t in our contacts. While the robot apocalypse theme isn’t a new one, it’s still possible to take that theme in a new direction to make a unique story.
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[Review] Watch_Dogs 2

written by Matthew Finneman

Hype is a tricky beast. On one hand, it is a powerful tool for motivating gamers into anticipating your new IP. But that same wave of excitement can quickly turn to backlash when the hype-fueled, unrealistic expectations give way to reality. Hype can quite literally make or break a game. There are quite a few notable games this generation which have fallen prey to “the hype,” and one of the most well-known of them is the game which encapsulated all of the excitement and anticipation of the new generation of consoles – Watch_Dogs.

Years went by. Hype grew and turned to skepticism and snark. The game sold well, but its grimdark setting, repetitive mission structure, unlikable grimdark protagonist, and its GTA me-too gameplay kept it from becoming a true classic, despite the novelty and fun of a fully hackable world.

Enter Watch_Dogs 2.
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[Review] World Of Final Fantasy

written by Matthew Finneman

We live in an age of remakes and reboots. A world where ’80s throwbacks are slowly giving way to ’90s throwbacks. A time where cashing in on nostalgia has never been more prevalent or lucrative. A lot of these endeavors are met with eyerolls, and are often called out for being cash grabs. Fans claim imagination and inventiveness are dying. And maybe they are right. But sometimes, just sometimes…an attempt to hearken back to an earlier era, an attempt to throw caution to the wind and fanservice in our faces just works.

That is exactly what happened with World Of Final Fantasy.
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[Review] Stardew Valley

written by Kate Spencer

It’s easy to put games these days into a certain genre: simulator, FPS, action, adventure, sports, RPG, walking simulator, racing, and over-priced collector’s edition bookend. When we’re not sure of the genre, sometimes we fall back on descriptions reliant on popular or well-known games: “like Minecraft but…” In reviewing Stardew Valley, I struggle with putting it into a genre. Maybe “farming RPG”, but many describe it as “like Harvest Moon but…”

In my case: like Harvest Moon, but I actually played this game.
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[Review] Fallout 4

Fallout 4: Synth and Synthability
written by Kate Spencer

“War…war never changes.” -Fallout narrator
“Wheeeeeee! Explosions!” -Kate

War may not change, but the Fallout series definitely does. Once a third-person top-down RPG, the series has changed with the times to become a first-person shooty action adventure RPG. The basic mechanics are still there in an evolved form, and the themes remain, but there have been vast changes even from 2008’s Fallout 3 and 2010’s Fallout New Vegas. Some changes are good, some are bad, most just take time to get used to, but overall the game is a solid experience.
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[Review] Life Is Strange

written by Kate Spencer

The first part of this review will contain very mild general spoilers. At a certain point, I’ll give a warning before I go into massive spoilers and discuss my feelings on them.

“If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?”
-Brave

Life Is Strange touches on themes of fate, destiny, and desperately trying to change outcomes. While other games have used time manipulation mechanics to give platforming, adventuring, and combat a new twist, Life Is Strange uses it to tell a deep emotional story. It’s one of the best narrative-based games I’ve ever played and I intend to play it again as soon as the shock from the ending wears off.
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[Editorial] Samus Aran and Representation

co-written by Dayna Abel and Alice Durnell

There’s a controversy online – and I’ll take a minute to let you recover from that shock – about a prominent video game character. Game developer Brianna Wu and writer Ellen McGrody recently wrote an article for The Mary Sue titled Metroid‘s Samus Aran is a Transgender Woman. Deal With It.” It was a thoughtful piece and celebratory and trans-positive, which of course meant that it was going to have the best and brightest of the gaming community having a well-spoken discourse about oh god I can’t even bring myself to finish this sentence.

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