The end of summer can be an exciting time for gamers. Usually there’s a handful of titles that come out before the big holiday rush, and 2015 was no different; for better or worse. The end of summer 2015 brought us an incredible thriller that really needs to be experienced with Until Dawn, an Ultimate Edition of a beloved game remade from the ground up for the new consoles with Gears of War, and an experience for football fans that is the best in the series yet in Madden NFL 16. Like anything great, there needs to be balance in the world, and there were also a handful of titles that should be completely avoided as well. The onslaught of game releases are just about upon us, but August was good to gamers in many ways, so read on to find out what the best and worst 3 were.
Until Dawn (PS4)
I have a love for not only thriller movies but games that force you to make moral choices quickly and reactionary, so for people like me, Until Dawn seems like it’s too good to be true. It blends cinematic storytelling, complete with amazing facial visuals and acting, alongside giving the player difficult choices along the way, altering not only how the story plays out, but more importantly, who lives and dies. Until Dawn has been crafted with amazing precision and keeps you immersed with its amazing visuals, audio, narrative, acting, characters, and animation, all while being told in a creepy thriller setting.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition (XB1/PC)
These days it seems that there’s an onslaught of HD remakes being thrown at us, though the problem with most is that they’re lazy attempts of slapping a new coat of paint on top and reselling it for full price all over again. There are a few developers that have treated these remakes honorably, actually rebuilding the game from the ground up, putting a ton of new features and tweaks to make it the best, er, Ultimate version of itself, and Gears of War Ultimate Edition is one of them. More than just a shiny coat of paint, visuals, animations, cutscenes, and even multiplayer has been completely rebuilt to showcase an almost decade old games on Xbox One. The fact that you wouldn’t be able to tell it was originally a 360 game from 9 years ago if you didn’t know speaks volumes and proves this is how you treat a HD remaster.
Madden NFL 16 (XB1/360/PS4/PS3)
Everyone is familiar with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, and that’s what EA has done with this year’s installment of MADDEN NFL 16, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With sports titles being a yearly offering, it’s difficult to make major and drastic changes, which is why most yearly follow-up’s always have a handful of new improvements over the previous release. It may and look and feel like the same game as before, but there’s so many small improvements that make Madden NFL 16 the best of the franchise to date. The game is that much closer to a true life NFL experience, more so than it’s ever been, and any negatives the game does have is easily outweighed by its positives.
Repetition and gameplay that doesn’t evolve during its course can kill a game, and unfortunately Submerged has fallen into this trap. While the world itself is incredibly beautiful it lacks variety, especially when you’ve scaled up the same type of building numerous times repeatedly. Submerged may be full of charm, but that can only carry you so far when players are losing interest half way in for numerous reasons. We had high hopes for Submerged when it was first shown, but unfortunately the shallow experience wasn’t enough to keep us interested for very long.
If a game looks like browser based game and plays like one, you’d safely assume that it is a browser game, right? Well, that is most likely how you’d describe DiscStorm, but instead of being free and playable in your browser of choice, you need to pony up about $15 for a game that is lacking in the visual and audio departments, among other issues. Recommended as a multiplayer game, those who are unable or want to play single player will be disappointed with a very disappointing and tacked on mode that is very short and repetitive. While it may be this indie developer’s debut game, there’s nothing that makes it stand out against the competition and it really failed to excite us.
Dream is one of those games that’s based on a great idea, but just doesn’t follow up with the same level of execution. Dream is poised as an atmospheric exploration game, but problems start arising almost instantly, even with the first puzzle that’s thrown at you, making for an awful first impression. Puzzles are meant to reward you in some way, either with progression or an item to entice you to progress forward, but when you finally clear a puzzle in Dream you realize you’re still in for a few more painful hours. You’re never really sure what solving these puzzles accomplish aside from gaining you access to the next terrible puzzle to solve, resulting in a game that you need to slog through instead of enjoying.