Okay, let’s cut to the chase: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is more than a little like LEGO Batman 2. In fact, it could easily be argued that it probably started its production cycle as LEGO Batman 3, but that doesn’t diminish its greatness. LEGO Marvel is all of the fun you had before, but with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Spider Woman. Yep, despite being more than a little based on the Avengers movie, the X-Men and Spidey are in it! The fact that the X-Men actually have their own level in the X-Mansion almost makes this the best LEGO game ever, but when you actually look at all of the other awesome stuff, you won’t even be able to argue that this isn’t the best. The story is fantastic, and there are more obscure characters in this game than you could shake a stick at. The only real problem is that the game (or the PS3 version, at least) is filled with glitches. Some levels need to be restarted 2-3 times just to be able to finish, and a great number of levels straight locked up my PS3. Despite that, if you’re at all a fan of the comics, the movies, or the characters, then you will love this game.
I seem to have picked the perfect time to jump on the Skullgirls train. I bought it during a PSN sale, and while I played a little, I didn’t really get to it until it was time for the free upgrade to Encore. Skullgirls Encore isn’t your typical yearly rebalance/reskin affair, though. Sure, it rebalances the roster, but it also adds much better online play and new characters! For those of you that are skeptical because it’s a newer franchise, you shouldn’t worry at all. Skullgirls takes some of the most beautiful animation and marries it to incredibly tight gameplay. Overall, Skullgirls Encore is probably one of the freshest fighting games I’ve played in quite some time. The animation is slick, online play is good, and the presentation is fantastic. If you’ve grown fatigued from all of that stuff that has become so commonplace in big budget fighting games (tons of DLC, new yearly editions, GOTY edition re-releases), you owe it to yourself to give Encore a try. You’ll come away from it with a renewed hope for the future of fighting games and may even find yourself hooked for a while.
I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about Gone Home by now, but I’m late to the party and have more than a little to say about it. Being that I’m a sucker for stories in games, and as that has always been the case, I expected to adore Gone Home. Unfortunately, Gone Home isn’t really a game. You never have to do anything that requires any sort of skill or anything that’s even fun. It’s a glorified novel. A glorified novel with some absolutely fantastic acting, but still a glorified novel. So, what’s my problem? The fact that almost everything you learn about the family, whose junk you’re rummaging through, is very surface. Considering most of the bits of info you find around the house are comprised of journals, notes, and other personal odds and ends, almost none of it seems terribly deep or personal. Which isn’t to say there aren’t good moments to be had, it’s just not as big of a deal as everyone made it out to be. The game is enjoyable, but don’t go in with super high expectations or you’ll find yourself disappointed.
Whenever a game tries to combine rhythm with some other, more traditional genre, I’m immediately interested. In the case of BeatBlasters, it’s a 2D action platformer. But while the game looks great and delivers some cool beats, it is honestly the most boring rhythm game I’ve ever played. Calling itself a rhythm game isn’t even very fair. The only “rhythm” involved is when one of your three powers runs out, and you have to tap a single button in time with the music to refill it. Your powers are constantly running low, though, meaning you’ll have to stop and do this rhythm sequence many times per level, turning the game’s only gimmick into a tedious punishment. The “platformer” label is also a bit misleading, since most levels aren’t true “go left/right and explore” experiences. Rather, BeatBlasters is a series of missions. Namely, escort missions and missions where you’re supposed to protect something or someone until time runs out or you’ve defeated the attacking boss character. You know, all of the annoying parts of a platformer… only now with small bursts of music!
With no Halo release this year, I’ve been hankering for a fun FPS experience, so I expected to get it from Call of Duty: Ghosts. Looking back, I should have really gone in with fewer expectations. It’s fun, but it just feels like it is lacking. The graphics are somewhat decent, but there are a lot of instances of clipping through people and odd difficulty spikes that just feel like they take a little too much away from the experience. The sound design also feels incredibly lackluster, especially when compared to the sound design in a release from the same year like Crysis 3. Gunplay is decent, and the campaign is the best since Modern Warfare 2, but the multiplayer suffers from feeling too samey. After spending some real time with it, I just can’t recommend it, because it feels like a cheap cash-in on the series’ name, which honestly doesn’t come as a surprise at all. If you want to play an FPS on PS3, play either Crysis 3 or Killzone 3. They’re much, much better.
Waveform sounds like it’d be a boring (or at least a very hard to control) game. You guide a particle through space by changing the amplitude and frequency of the wave it’s riding on. This is tricky at first, not having direct control over your “character.” Even after spending a few hours with it, I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough to 100% any of the levels. But it’s actually pretty fun. Those moments when you do get the wavelength just right are satisfying, and the game doesn’t waste time in upping the action. I really expected this one to put me to sleep, though, with its initially relaxing graphics and music. But then almost every level introduces something new, whether it’s glass you can bounce off of or deadly blocks that will only disappear if you change into the right color. The developers did a great job in building on top of their gameplay ideas, adding just enough each time to keep things interesting without overwhelming you. If you’re into action/puzzle games (where I use the term “puzzle” loosely), you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what Waveform has to offer.