PlayStation 3

Video Game Review: Return to ‘Skyrim’ with ‘Dragonborn’

CHICAGO – During my younger and gainfully underemployed days, I would troll abandonware sites for free games, downloading obscure gems ad nauseum to the point where my under-powered Acer Aspire desktop PC’s four-gigabyte hard drive was brimming with some real classics (and a few stinkers).

Video Game Review: ‘Need For Speed: Most Wanted’ Plays Like J.J. Abrams Film

CHICAGO – I am not (by any means) what you’d call a gear-head. I’m the guy who skips through the car reviews on “Top Gear” to get to the challenges, I’ve changed oil twice in my life, and my current sick ride is a 2001 Chevy Lumina with a bum tail light.

Video Game Review: ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ Brings Changes But Keeps Strengths

CHICAGO – Entering a freshly crowded field of first-person shooters, “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” had a lot of buzz behind it. The good news is that the game virtually matches the hype. This is absolutely on the upper end of the get-it-while-it’s-new list. Those who have criticized Activision for turning “COD” into an annual cash cow simply have little to complain about here. Almost everything has been given the once over and improved upon.

Video Game Review: ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2013’ a Scrappy Sports Game

PES 2013

CHICAGO – 2012 marks the first time in three years I haven’t played the new “FIFA” game with my annoying wannabe-European roommate. Like clockwork, each year he’d bound into our apartment with the world’s premier soccer title, unwrap it, pack the hookah (making me guess the flavor even though I could never tell the difference - and told him this every time) and we’d proceed to play until I beat him, at which point he’d lose interest in playing me, and instead move to his bedroom to play on the easiest mode with the best team and I presume drink creme de menthe and listen to The Smiths.

Video Game Review: ‘Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty’

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty.

“Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty,” in addition to being an excellent title for a late night “Cinemax” title, also happens to be a new piece of pirate-themed downloadable content for “Borderlands 2,” available for a modest tribute on XBLA. Once downloaded, all one needs to do is access a fast travel station and hightail it to newly appearing “Oasis” on the list of travel beacons.

Video Game Review: ‘NBA 2K13’ is a Slam Dunk

CHICAGO – Most of us thought it wouldn’t happen, others thought it couldn’t, and a select few thought it never should. Despite being the best in the world at what they do, dominating the competition, and improving themselves day in and day out, most of us were ultimately doubters. But we were proven wrong.

Video Game Review: ‘Borderlands 2’ Has Nearly Limitless Ability to Entertain

CHICAGO – I played the first “Borderlands” with my roommate two summers ago, marathoning nightly 6-hour sessions in a haze of not-just-hookah smoke, delighting at the acid-trip aesthetic of the proceedings. Midgets, monsters, vehicles, rocket-launching sniper-rifles, giant angry dragon things — it felt like we were Alice and we made a wrong turn on our way through the Rabbit Hole.

Video Game Review: ‘LittleBigPlanet’ is First Must-Own For PlayStation Vita

CHICAGO – It’s been a rough first year for the PlayStation Vita. The new Sony handheld came out of the gate with a few interesting games and it seemed like the company could get behind it with some must-play titles this Summer and really do what they never could with the PSP. It didn’t happen. We went weeks without any Vita games at all and a the few that did come out — “Resistance: Burning Skies,” “Gravity Rush,” “Sound Shapes” — didn’t set the world on fire.

Video Game Review: ‘Transformers: Fall of Cybertron’ is More Than Meets the Eye

CHICAGO – Considering its iconic nature, it’s funny that “The Transformers” franchise has never been about its story. Outside of Optimus Prime dying, or that time Ultra Magnus fought the junk-bots to a Weird Al song, casual fans would be hard pressed to remember a specific episode or occurrence in the series that really stuck with them.

Video Game Review: Gameplay Refinements Elevate New ‘Madden NFL 13’

CHICAGO – “Madden NFL 13” opens with a rousing monologue from everyone’s favorite justice-obstructing Ravens linebacker, Ray Lewis. Sitting in a dimly lit and smokey locker room, he extols the virtue of hard work, tenacity, and pride, as images from the prior NFL season are projected on the lockers before seamlessly transforming into footage from the game, highlighting its shiny new physics engine.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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