Reviews

Game Reviews

The Inquisitor Review

Video games can be great vehicles for mysteries. The idea of gathering clues, questioning witnesses, and giving dramatic speeches where you stun an array of suspects with your intellect makes for an exciting fantasy. But lots of games stumble trying to fit the inherently open-ended, red-string-connecting fantasy of the detective into traditionally linear story structures. The Inquisitor is a game like that — it starts with the compelling concept of playing as a medieval church cop hunting a vamp

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Review

I fell in love with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time way back in 2003, when it helped redefine 3D action-adventure games with its clever rewind ability enhancing its environmental puzzles and fast, acrobatic combat. But while the aughts saw a bunch of sequels with similar elements, none ever quite hit the same heights as The Sands of Time – and the 2010s were a parched desert for the series. But like an oasis, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown finally nails what I loved about those classic Pri

Lego Fortnite Review

Surprising absolutely no one, Fortnite and Lego snap satisfyingly together like a couple of plastic construction bricks. Combining the building creativity of Lego sets with Fortnite's expansive and often gorgeous island playgrounds is a smart match that creates an approachable yet fairly deep survival game. But while it streamlines a few of the more cumbersome aspects of the genre, Lego Fortnite also has the distinct feel of an early access game, trading as much on its future potential as its cu

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Zombies Review in Progress

This is our Zombies review for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Check out the single-player review for our thoughts on the campaign or the multiplayer review for our thoughts on PvP.

Like a lot of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, this year’s Zombies mode has undergone what might be described as a "Warzone-ification," forcing its traditional PvE elements into a larger, more open map. But as popular as the Warzone side of Call of Duty (or in this case, the extraction shooter mode, DMZ) might be, mi

The Talos Principle 2 Review - Machine Learning

Video games often deal with the end of the world and thinking about how cool it might be. Like, sure, it sucks that most everyone has to die horribly for the end of the world to take place, but those of us who survive might get to shoot evil marauders or rotting mutants or giant bugs. Or maybe there are evil marauders, rotting mutants, and giant bugs who are trying to bring about the end of the world, and you can shoot them to prevent it. In any event, the idea of finding fun settings that let y

Lords Of The Fallen Review - Dark Slog

There are a lot of elements that might be said to define Souls-like games, but high on the list has to be the genre’s particular approach to pacing. As a group of action-RPGs, they’re defined first by periods of growing, ratcheting tension. You fight through long areas filled with tough enemies, with each one dropping "souls" that you can spend to level up your character, which you risk losing if you die before you reach a safe place where you're able to spend them.

Following the build of tensi

Thymesia Review - Hunter Homage

A lot of games have drawn inspiration from the works of From Software, with varying degrees of success. While many developers look to emulate that high degree of challenge that comes from the likes of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro, they often miss the fact that it's From's thoughtful, tight gameplay and deliberate encounter design that makes these games fun, not just a punishing difficulty. Thymesia, a 3D action game that draws heavy influence from some specific From titles, manages to stri

Rollerdrome Review - Skate Or Die

When I was losing hours to Roll7's latest side-scrolling skateboard platformer, OlliOlli World, I never said to myself, "I wonder what this would be like if my skater had a gun." Roll7 obviously did, though, and the result is Rollerdrome. Though it makes departures from the skating games that Roll7 is known for, Rollerdrome nails what's most important about them: it's an easy game to play that makes you feel awesome while you're playing it.

Rollerdrome is similar to Roll7's other titles in that

God Of War Review: Out With The Old, In With The New

This review has been updated to include impressions of God of War's PC version, released in 2022. The initial review, written by Peter Brown in 2018, follows. The new text, written by Phil Hornshaw in 2022, has been added at the bottom of the original review.

The God of War series has, until now, stuck very close to the standards set in the original 2005 game. More than a decade (and many games) later, it makes sense that Sony would want to mix things up for the aged hack-and-slash series. Like

Battlefield 2042 Review — Character Development

Sometimes, everything in Battlefield 2042 just clicks. Playing the new Hazard Zone mode, my squad entered the frightfully dangerous shipping yard on Manifest, a map defined by a big port. The stacks of shipping containers lining the sides of the area can create a lethal bottleneck, and as we approached the objective ahead, we spotted another squad converging on the location as well.

As the recon fighter Mackay, I pulled out my Batman-like grapple gun and zipped up to the top of the container st

Call Of Duty: Vanguard Review — Personnel Problems

Call of Duty games can sometimes contradict themselves. The franchise dictates that each new game has a specific feel--things like quick kill times and consistent approaches to movement and weapons, and campaigns that mix a large sense of scale with an individual intensity of battle. Call of Duty: Vanguard maintains all of these things, but it also strains under the formula. There are times when Call of Duty's underlying elements seem to hold it back, like in its single-player campaign. Other ti
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Movie and TV Reviews

Shōgun Review - Game Of Ronin

Ever since Game of Thrones came to an end back in 2019, I've been itching for some expansive medieval political intrigue. FX's adaptation of Shōgun, James Clavell's 1975 novel, provides exactly what I've been craving. It widens its view of the original story, which follows a fictionalized version of the adventures of the first Englishman to reach Japan, to put a greater emphasis on the dangerous political world that man finds himself trapped in. This new adaptation of Shōgun is all about the mac

'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' review: Best action of the series

Tom Cruise’s Twitter account biography jokes (or maybe just points out) that he’s been “running in movies since 1981.” He does more of that in Mission: Impossible — Fallout than he has in years, to the credit of both the actor and the movie.

It’s a testament to the fact this sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise is always tearing along at a sprint, blasting from one ridiculous action sequence to the next. There’s the car chases, the motorcycle chases, the car-on-motorcycle chas

'Ant-Man and the Wasp' scales down the Marvel epic without losing the fun

For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie was the literal culmination of 10 years of stories into a crescendo, with the baddest of bad guys, the highest of stakes, and the biggest glut of characters. Everything built to that moment, and the movie’s ending in particular carried an undeniable emotional impact, even if many viewers told themselves it couldn’t possibly be final, thanks to the economic demands of film franchises.

Just two months later, Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters, taking v

Fun but forgettable, 'Tomb Raider' narrowly escapes the video game film curse

Let’s get this out of the way straight off: Tomb Raider is not another terrible video game movie.

Norwegian director Roar Uthaug‘s adaptation of the 2013 video game of the same name, which itself is a reboot of the game franchise that once spawned a pair of silver screen adaptations starring Angelina Jolie, is a solid take on the source material. Like a good game, Tomb Raider is fast and exciting, clipping along between action sequences, and providing some solid thrills along the way.

Also lik

Destined to be another classic, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ was worth the 35-year wait

Over the 35 years since its release, Director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir film Blade Runner has come to be revered, as both a classic in the sci-fi genre and a visual masterpiece. In taking up the story again three decades later, Blade Runner 2049 runs the risk of bumbling what’s become a frighteningly heavy burden in carrying on the original film’s legacy. But, to get right to the point as we begin our review, it’s a mandate director Denis Villeneuve deftly handles throughout the sequel.

Blade

‘Logan Lucky’ strings together a fun heist, but it’s far from the perfect crime

Heist movies run on two equally important elements: Elaborate plans, and believability. , from director , has plenty of the first, as a pair of brothers from West Virginia orchestrate step after obtusely convoluted step in order to successfully rob a speedway on the day of the year’s biggest race. And while we had a lot of fun taking in the scenery ahead of our Logan Lucky review, we couldn’t help but feel the movie comes up well short on plausibility.

Logan Lucky actually isn’t unlike Soderber

Unlike its gunslinger, 'The Dark Tower' repeatedly misses the mark

Before composing this The Dark Tower review, I expected to hate the movie. Even without reading other reviews, the zeitgeist has it that the adaptation of Stephen King’s epic book series, which has seen a struggle to get made for years, is abysmal. Just have a look at its Rotten Tomatoes score.

Okay it’s not abysmal, exactly, but it’s by no means especially good. The Dark Tower is more unremarkable than it is odious. It’s a movie that has obvious load-bearing framework missing, like a gunslinge

‘Atomic Blonde’ cuts through its confusing spy story with killer fights

There are some specific marching orders for every frame of Atomic Blonde: Be as cool as possible. On that front, the movie succeeds. It’s gorgeously shot, infused top to bottom with neon, and set to a thundering soundtrack of 1980s pop hits. Rarely a moment goes by that Charlize Theron isn’t on screen in the role of the titular atomic blonde, MI6 super-spy Lorraine Broughton, utterly sizzling as she either wails on Russian KGB agents or smoothly gathers intelligence. Atomic Blonde digs into the

Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk' is tense, explosive, and nearly perfect

Dunkirk is a sprawling war epic, but it opens intimately. A group of British soldiers wander down a street in the town for which the movie is named, as leaflets flutter down all around them. A soldier picks up the flyer, showing a map of the coast of France, a white circle surrounded by red.

In the center of the circle is the word “You.” The red is the combined might of the Nazi military machine.

Immediately after that somewhat harrowing revelation, the soldier (Tommy as he’s named in the cred

'Lego Batman' is the hero Gotham deserves, and brings the comedy we need right now

Of course, Lego Batman may be a comedic kids’ movie, but it’s so intimate with its source material that it’s also constantly winking at the Batman fans and adults in the audience. There’s even a bit in the film where the newly appointed Commissioner (Barbara) Gordon (voiced by Rosario Dawson) calls attention to the gentle absurdity at the core of Batman when she points out that punching poor people doesn’t really do a lot to solve to overall crime problem in Gotham City. Lego Batman has such fun