Author: Devan Duree

A great story sticks with you long after you’ve finished it; a good book, an exciting TV series, a captivating video game. This past year I played my Nintendo Switch a TON and had the pleasure of being a part of all kinds of stories. But these stories are nothing without the right characters. Not the ones that you see upfront, but the ones who you actually feel for as you being to learn more about them. As I’ve played more and more titles on my Switch, though, I’ve begun noticing that Indie games are creating significantly more compelling stories than most AAA companies. Perhaps most importantly, though, they’re doing it with half the resources and triple the heart. Continue reading

When someone looks back on their favorite video game characters, they tend to look toward the the way that character looked. The way they talked. They way they interacted with the world they were in. What people don’t think about, though, is what’s going on inside a character’s head; their mental stability. Within the last year I played two games that made me realize that developers are exploring protagonists with troubled lives that challenge the form of standard video game hero/heroine tropes. And I couldn’t be more pleased. Continue reading

For better or for worse, EA stayed well in the limelight this past year. Star Wars Battlefront II was a major controversy even before it was officially released. Between microtransactions, an abysmal AMA on Reddit, and drastically changing the games core progression due to customer feedback, the company took a major hit to their public image. With 2018 now here, the gaming community patiently waits to see if EA has learned their lesson with their newest line-up of games.

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The first Final Fantasy I ever played was Final Fantasy 2 (or for those die-hard fans, Final Fantasy 4). I was 6 years old and I had absolutely no idea how to play it, who was who and what was going on. But that did not stop me from sinking many, and I mean MANY, hours into Final Fantasy. I loved the colors, I loved the names of the characters, I loved the random encounters and sense of adventure. Since then, not many games have been able to replicate that feeling for me…until now. Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler didn’t just replicate that feeling, though. It exceeded it.
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I look back on my memories of the original Crash Bandicoot with a fond smile. The pits I jumped over, the crates I smashed, the times I almost snapped my controller in half because of that damn rolling boulder; I remember all of it. The Crash Bandicoot remaster was a selfless gift, a gift I didn’t realize I wanted until I had it. That being said, and wonderful as this was, I worry that the success of this remaster will cause developers to capitalize on our nostalgia instead of exploring new and interesting areas of gaming. I mean, I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything, but did we REALLY need to have a remastered Modern Warfare? Continue reading

“Clementine will remember that.”

The first time I read those words, a wave of dread instantly overcame me. It was like my decision had put me on a path down a forked road, unable to go back and retread my steps. My decision was final and the story pressed on, solidifying a future I had yet to discover. It wasn’t until Episode 3 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead did I realize that all my choices were inevitably leading to one, maybe two, endings. This “storytelling” genre of games is a growing one, and one I thoroughly enjoy, but for all the growth the genre has had over the years, there are still developers out there that have played it too safe and made their “stories” tired and predictable in the process. Continue reading

From the moment I started the first God of War in 2005, I knew I was playing something special. The introduction alone was one of the most intense, white knuckle experiences I had ever had playing video games. The combat was visceral, the story was mysterious and compelling, and Kratos, the game’s anti-hero, kept me wanting. A cursed Spartan warrior seeking to end his torment brought on by his sins and hubris? Count me in. You would think, then, that the newest God of War coming to the PS4 next year would have me frothing at the mouth. Well…not quite. Continue reading

One of my favorite moments when starting a brand new video game is the second I take control; when the cutscenes are over, my mission is set, and I am left to my untold adventures. I set out on my quest, to vanquish foes and conquer the opposition, and as I take those glorious first steps…STOP! “Press X to Jump.” Video game tutorials are an important piece of any game. They teach you how to control your character, chain combos and maneuver the landscape. Continue reading

I love playing video games with a big group of friends. Logging on, getting into a party chat, and diving into our favorite fantasy RPG or sci-fi shooter. After hours of dungeon crawling, of conquering hour-long bosses, we claim our loot and XP. Unfortunately, that is the only experience we will share. We will then go our separate ways to appraise our spoils and upgrade our respective characters. Don’t get me wrong, this is all a jovial experience, but why is it that the extent of our interactions are only in-game? Why does the cooperative element in video games feel so formulaic and shallow? Continue reading

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