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Video Game Review

Video Game Review: ‘Life is Strange Episode 3: Chaos Theory’ Propels the Series Forward

CHICAGO – After playing Life is Strange shortly after its launch, I thought it was the type of game that would make a minor splash then fade relatively quickly into obscurity. The concept was genius, but the execution, particularly in terms of visuals and dialogue, was severely lacking.

Video Game Review: ‘Broken Age’ is Tricky, Whimsical & Outstanding

Broken Age

CHICAGO – Double Fine Productions delves into the deepest, most repressed parts of the imagination and brings the wonders it finds into our reality. I took a long while to play and review “Broken Age,” the company’s Kickstarter darling, not because it was long or overly difficult, but because I was left thinking about the game constantly once I finished.

Video Game Review: ‘Life is Strange Episode 2: Out of Time’ Asks a Lot of Players

CHICAGO – Dontnod Entertainment struck potential conceptual gold with “Life is Strange.” Iterating on Telltale’s point-and-click episodic narrative adventure formula, they’ve crafted a truly intriguing world that begs to be explored through the lens of protagonist Max Caulfield’s eyes.

Video Game Review: ‘Pneuma: Breath of Life’ is Fresh Air For Sore Eyes

Pneuma

CHICAGO – I was a 8 or 9 when I found myself in front of a Phillips CD-I display at Sears, playing the “Sesame Street” game like it was my job. The Count, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie all talked and animated in a way I had never seen in a game before. There was a guy in a suit talking to a lady behind me and he asked what I thought.

Video Game Review: ‘The Escapists’ is So Obtuse

TheEscapists

CHICAGO – Years ago I took a game development class and pitched a game that was “Harvest Moon” meets “The Sims.” Instead of farming, your options included being a taxi driver, store clerk, handy man, stay at home parent, etc - all with accompanying mini-games and domestic troubles, a bit like the now-freeware “Cart Life.”

Video Game Review: ‘Don Bradman Cricket’ a Tricky Wicket

Don Bradman Cricket

CHICAGO – 2014’s “The Golf Club” gave sports games a proper kick in the arse, booting out the pretentious hubbub of PGA Tour, its Pros, its Courses, and its ‘Majesty’ and ‘Prestige’, and replaced them with a Norm MacDonald-sounding caddy and a streamlined game of golf that let you play 18 holes in under an hour.

Video Game Review: ‘Evolve’ Earns its Name

CHICAGO – When I first opened Turtle Rock Studios’ “Evolve,” I was fully prepared to rage quit matches and yell at the screen. My gaming skill lies more in the realm of platformers and adventure games than strategic shooters. My first few matches following the short tutorial were exactly as I expected. I fumbled around the arena doing little to help my teammates.

Video Game Review: ‘Dying Light’ Does Just Fine

Dying Light

CHICAGO – Playing “Dying Light” in co-op mode began a tale of two different gamers with two different lives and two different tastes. My co-op partner, Matt, is an Internet networking guru with a brand new Xbox One and not much to play on it beyond “#IDARB” (which is fantastic and free). He sunk his teeth into it like like an Asgardian at an all-you-can-eat buffet. He loved the open world, the graphics and the gruesomeness.

Video Game Review: ‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’ Spares the Satire, Spoils the Fans

South Park: The Stick of Truth (teaser)

CHICAGO – In May 13, 1996, I didn’t know what an RPG was. That all changed with “Super Mario RPG: The Legend of The Seven Stars”. The term was right there in the title! Not only did they popularize the genre, Square Enix streamlined the numbers heavy RPGs of the past into something challenging, charming, thrilling, and accessible. The combat was required timed button presses, and the story was oddly touching; bittersweet moments supplementing the generally upbeat and zany antics. It was almost a kid-friendly water-slide prelude to the pop-culture Tsunami that was to be “Final Fantasy VII” only a few months later, at which point pretty much everyone knew what an RPG was and what to expect to from one.

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

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