The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Overall, the game began to feel like a chore, but I wasn’t disappointed with it—my favorite sequences involving spacemen and sea-monsters.

I like narrative driven games, they’re my favorite. No matter the genre—books, movies, games, tv shows—to me, the story is all that matters. I can overlook mistakes, budget limitations, and mediocre acting if a story is compelling enough. That’s where I’d put The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the story was just compelling enough.

The game is only a couple of bucks through the Playstation Store, I think you can also pick it up on Steam and whatnot. Overall, it’s rather basic. You just walk around and discover the story. There’s no objective other than playing detective and trying to figure out what happened to some missing kid. On the surface that sounds easy enough—but you literally start off in the woods with no guidance, direction, or clear objective. Things kind of start happening to you, but you have no idea what you’re supposed to do about them.

Steep

Steep, the extreme winter sports game, had so much potential but falls flat where it counts—creating any sort of connection between the rider and mountain.

Free this month with your Playstation Plus Membership.

I used to be really into snowboarding games. I had tons of fun with 1080 on N64 and spent way too many hours with friends playing Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder on the PS2. In fact, my roommates and I developed a drinking game based on Palmer’s “Horse” — the winner of the round earning the privilege to drink, where the loser was only allowed to sit back and watch the sweet nectar dribble down the winner’s chin. Of course, there’s also the Tony Hawk games, but my favorite of the “X” sports was always surfing—Transworld beating out Kelly Slater by just a pinch.

With that, Steep was a promising concept. Take a massive open-world and allow the player to endlessly explore a mountain region through a variety of mediums—snowboards, skis, wingsuits, and paragliding. A big part of the game’s objective is to scout out and discover new locations and earn helicopter drops so you can hurl your character off of a new cliff or down a new mountain face. Pretty sweet.

Assassin's Creed Origins

From Altair to Bayek, AC Origins is a homerun when the franchise needed it the most.

I’ve been avid AC player for over a decade—I’ve played all major releases as they came out since its inception. I’ve even read a few of the books, watched the cinematic shorts, and went to the theater to see the movie. I love the story and idea that is Assassin’s Creed.

However, in recent years, the game has strayed drastically from its compelling roots and existential undertones–which was the entire reason I forced myself to play through the clunky hair-pulling controls and egregious repetitiveness that was Altair in the first couple installments. Originally, the story was so good that I was willing to suffer through its god-awful playability. However, as the playability got better, the story became much worse.

Three Fourths Home

Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight…

I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was supposed to be, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a video game. There was nothing about this story that warranted it being played or visualized in this medium. The graphical element of a car driving through cornfields added nothing to the story, the controls and playability added no feeling or connection with the characters—if anything these components distracted from the plot and created a barrier between the “player” and what the story was trying to convey. To me, this story could have easily been a novel or perhaps a film—as a video game it was a frustrating and underwhelming experience.

Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a heart-in-throat twists.

The story takes place in a struggling fishing village in the Pacific Northwest; a setting that plays seamlessly with hipster-savvy characters and strong female leads. You take control of our budding photographer protagonist, Max, on her 18th birthday as she’s recently enrolled in prestigious art-driven boarding school for gifted students. In the opening scene she has a crazy premonition and discovers that she has ability to control—reverse—time. It’s awesome. It’s every indie stereotype personified in a cataclysm of so much sugary-pop goodness that it hurts your teeth and rots your mind—only to later sideswipe you with depth and soul.

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