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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: ‘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: ‘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: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ is an Iffy Connection

CHICAGO – Sometimes you get a freebie. While seemingly millions of other players were cursing the house that Houser built, stuck waiting for “Grand Theft Auto: Online” to load the first tutorial mission, I was already in and playing a day after launch.

Video Game Review: ‘Lost Planet 3’ Has Warm Heart, Cold Gameplay

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CHICAGO - If you ask me the first console game to get giant robots punching each-other right is the N64 Cult Classic “Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon”, which is strange because that game is the most absurd thing I ever played.

Video Game Review: ‘Rayman Legends’ Defies, Delivers

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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: ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ is a Devilish Delight

CHICAGO – Despite being a massive game, the best parts of “Grand Theft Auto V” are the little details: The way whiskey sloshes around in a glass, how characters show up to cut scenes in their custom saved cars, how surfboards litter the beaches, the numerous dynamic touches like the radio updating you on a given happening you had a hand in, as well as little narrative details that hint at “GTA V” being about something a little bigger than it lets on.

Video Game Review: ‘Madden 25’ is Compelling But Careless

Madden 25

CHICAGO – I don’t know if “Madden 25” wanted to slap me in the face each time I loaded a game, but it did, and my cheeks are still red. Practically every load screen in the game features some tidbit of “Madden” history, things like “Madden was the first football game to feature 11 players on both sides of the ball” and “Madden 2006 featured the now infamous vision cone”. Which, in theory, is cool - I’m a gaming enthusiast who’s bought this game every year since 2003, sometimes twice depending on the platform, and the chance to relive the memories of “Madden”s gone-by is a welcome experience. Until you think about it. For all the features these loading screens tout, few remain. I lament the loss of my precious “Weapons” system, Madden IQ, surprise onside kicks, and, yeah, even that bastard yellow vision cone.

Video Game Review: ‘Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist’ is a Blast

CHICAGO – A part of me likes thinking that somewhere in the Middle East, an American like Sam Fisher is prowling. Clear and present danger abound, mind racing with a dozen different ways the next few seconds could play out. A guard wanders close to his hiding place. Does he take them out with a silenced bullet to the head? Show mercy and knock them out - or simply let him walk by?

Video Game Review: ‘The Bureau: XCOM Declassified’ Has Soiled Briefs

CHICAGO – During a 4th grade sleepover party for a kid I knew named David, I waddled downstairs looking for the potty, and set eyes on a most fascinating game being played by David’s older brother on a computer. I’d never seen anything like it. There was a 3D globe, customizable characters, a haunting soundtrack and atmosphere, aliens, urban environments, and at the time, it was the most awesome thing I’d ever seen.

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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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