Enzo is a writer of Italian descent. He has lived in Germany, Switzerland, and recently settled in New York City where he works as a freelancer. When he is not exploring the city or losing at Street Fighter 5 tournaments, he likes to play role-playing and strategy video games. You can check out his work at www.enzoscavone.com.
Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days by Big Star Games is a third-person top-down shooter with few connections to Quentin Tarantino’s film other than it being about gangsters with color-coded names; and yet Bloody Days partially succeeds in its aspiration to revive a classic for crime and gangster films, while offering a time-rewind mechanics that helps the game distinct itself from the pool of titles in the top-down shooter category.
“Jus’ watch me, you joyk,” New York might say. While the city doesn’t attract big name game studios yet, it has a growing and energetic indie game scene. The members of this scene are gaming devotees looking for communal support and wishing for New York to support small entrepreneurship and can-do attitudes. Programs to help start-ups exist, like NYU-Poly, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, and NYC Seed. However, the landscape lacks initiatives which support video game developers, specifically.
With Prey,the developer Arkane Studios has built on the proven success of its stealth shooters. The gameplay discourages a head-on approach, slowing down the pace of the action. However, the frustration of having to hide instead of fighting enemies is remedied by excellent graphic and sound design, a strong RPG element, and the possibility to gather resources and build useful devices. An additional perk is the inventive writing, which manages an immersive, haunting atmosphere.
While there are some problems with making the player feel truly relevant in influencing the plotline, there are occasions where this does happen, and then you feel taken along for a fascinating ride. Together with the superb voice acting and quality soundtrack, this episode leaves you thirsting for more.
Faithful to the franchise, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness manages to involve the player into speculative science-fiction that poses fundamental questions about the human condition. While the graphics rely on still images and, at times, follow dialogue to an extent that feels tedious, the storyline creates a gripping experience on crime and mystery that leaves one pondering their own views on happiness and self-determination.
Dawn of War 3, by Relic Entertainment, is a worthy successor to the first two installments in the series. While it struggles to implement the grimdark theme of Warhammer lore visually, the title manages to reference the theme through its elite units. The heroes and doctrines a player chooses before a multiplayer battle offer the possibility to customize strategy and develop individual playstyle.
The neon-clad, Japanese-themed platformer Slime-san is a cute 2D puzzler with simplistic yet endearing design. Requiring all of the skills and reflexes of Super Meat Boy, Slime-san is not a challenge to take lightly. While the intricate levels and fast-paced gameplay have an initial appeal for speedrunners, Slime-san lacks enough substance to keep the player’s attention for long.
The attention to detail in the game mechanics, the developers’ efforts to maintain relevance and historical accuracy, and the rewards of mastering its intricacies set Afghanistan '11 apart as an exceptional title. However, an unusually steep learning curve, which might be hard to accept for someone who wants to casually try a turn-based strategy game, keep this release from broader appeal.
With Mandate of Heaven, Paradox Interactive has proven once more that they consistently deliver expansions which incorporate suggestions from players and satisfy their gamership's desire for new, immersive content -- once a newcomer overcomes the steep learning curve. Additionally, the downloadable content offers improved features for the game interface and new concepts in gameplay, contributing to a deep, involving, and rewarding experience.