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Video Game Review: ‘Rayman Legends’ Brings Platforming Perfection to Next Gen

Rayman Legends Xbox One

CHICAGO – It’s possible you made the unadvisable decision to remove “Rayman Legends” from your gaming console at some point in the six months its release. I know I did, and once it was out of the console, finding a reason to put it back in was tricky. I had collected tens of thousands of lums, and quite a large portion of of the 700 teensies, and loved every second of it. But there was so much more to do. More teensies, more lums, more secrets and challenges to complete - very daunting.

Video Game Review: Junk Food Appeal of ‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’

CHICAGO – Edward Kenway stands upon a Nassau stronghold ledge above two guards having an idle chat. I push the X button and he drops down upon their necks with piercing steel. I hold RT and the directional stick and hop into a nearby hay bale. Save for the two bodies, it was like I was never there.

Video Game Review: ‘Rayman Legends’ Defies, Delivers

Ray1

CHICAGO - It’s scary that I live in a world where that most gamers didn’t start with the Nintendo Entertainment system like I, and my peers, did. Having the first three levels of “Super Mario Bros.” memorized, playing “Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles The Arcade Game” until the way-too-late hour of 11pm on a school night, and nearly ending friendships over “Battletoads” were experiences I once thought universal to all game players.

Video Game Review: ‘Call of Juarez: Gunslinger’ is a Blast

CHICAGO – There’s nothing quite like exceeding bottom-of-the-barrel-low expectations. Considering “Call of Juarez”’s less than spectacular reputation amongst gamers - the last game in the series was referred to as “the kind of racist one” - it’s kind of neat to see the franchise may have a little something to offer after-all.

Video Game Review: ‘Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’ is Totally Rad

CHICAGO – My favorite 80’s sci-fi movie is a hammy flick named “Guyver II” starring David Hayter - the voice of “Solid Snake”, the EA sports “It’s in The Game!” guy, and writer of “X-men: United”. I’m fully aware “Guyver II” was released in 1994, but lets not split hairs, here.

Video Game Review: Easy to Kinect with ‘Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth’

CHICAGO – Good but not great, “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth” falls cleanly in the kiddie category of superhero video games, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Set in a solidly interactive array of environments, twenty different characters from the Marvel Universe duke it out in a variety of play styles including co-op, arcade, and vs., and the end result is dynamic, hi-energy, ham-fisted fun.

Video Game Review: ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ is a Cruel Mistress

CHICAGO – About a year ago, after a particularly fruitful perusing of my OkCupid quiver, I started up a conversation with a very sweet girl named Maria. She was in law school, liked cats, bad reality tv, drinking heavily, and wearing heels that made her appear about a foot taller than she actually was.

Video Game Review: ‘I Am Alive’ Finds Atmosphere in Genre Often Dominated by Action

CHICAGO – What would you do if you were one of the few survivors on Earth? You’re trying to get home. You’re low on supplies. Potential enemies who want to take the little that you have are probably around the next corner.

Video Game Review: ‘NCIS’ For Hardcore Fans of CBS Hit Only

CHICAGO – Everything immensely popular eventually falls victim to an awkward tie-in. There are graveyards of fast food toys related to blockbuster hits that never should have existed (a fact brilliantly parodied in the upcoming “Toy Story” short in front of “The Muppets”).

Video Game Review: ‘Driver: San Francisco’ Offers New Twist on Racing Games

Driver: San Francisco

CHICAGO – How do you make an open-world racing game? “Burnout Paradise” made a reasonable effort by presenting a city in which stop lights led to races, but the developers of “Driver: San Francisco” take it a step further with one of the most unique driving game dynamics in the history of the subgenre. The result is an original twist on an old favorite that gives it a little bit of juice even if it can’t quite win the race.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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