Journey: Collector’s Edition Review @ School Library Journal

journeycollectorseditionVideo games fans have been waiting patiently for the next project from ThatGameCompany for several years now. But while we continue to wait, the developer has repackaged its slightly abstract catalog (Flow, Flower, and Journey) in a PS3 and PS4 compilation known as Journey: Collector’s Edition.

Journey: Collector’s Edition was released in 2012, but Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed it for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox. And she found it as magical as many other video game fans have:

Journey has all the right elements to make it a staple in the gaming industry: breath taking graphics, an excellent soundtrack, an intimate feeling when playing with other players, and a strong emotional response. I highly recommend this title for circulating library collections, as well as teachers/librarians trying to use it for programs!

The PS3 version of Journey: Collector’s Edition was released on a Blu-ray disc, but the PS4 version of the game is only available as a download through the PlayStation Store.

Superhot: The VGL Review

superhotSuperhot is an amazing puzzle-based first person shooter that was recently released for the PC and Xbox One. Trapped in a VR world, players have to carefully plan their shots to take out a group of rapidly approaching Red Guys, but the twist is that time only moves when you do.

Superhot’s only available as a digital download right now, so it would be hard to add to a circulating collection, but here’s a review of the game I wrote for Warp Zoned:

“Time Moves Only When You Move.”

The developers behind Superhot know exactly what their minimalist first-person shooter is all about, and this succinct summation of the game’s hook is the perfect way to describe it to anyone unfamiliar with the game. It also tells prospective players that Superhot isn’t just a fast-paced arcade shooter (though it can be). Instead, it’s a deliberately-paced puzzle game where methodically figuring out the correct series of actions to complete each level is the only way to move forward. Even if you’ve never played a first person shooter before, it’s possible to pick up Superhot and understand what the game’s devilish AI has in store for you.

Doom (2016) Review @ Library Journal

doom2016The Doom franchise roared its way back into the world with a vengeance last month, all thanks to id Software’s ridiculously brutal reboot/sequel, which is known simply as Doom (PC, PS4, Xbox One). First person shooter fans will find a game that’s like nothing else out there. Doom is a very fast and intense experience that doesn’t skimp on the things (the shotgun, the chainsaw, the demonic imagery, etc) that made the franchise famous.

Library Journal columnist M. Brandon Robbins recently reviewed the shooter sequel, and he greatly enjoyed the wild action as well:

Released on May 13, 2016, Doom is a true rebirth of the series. Bringing back the fast-paced gameplay of the original while implementing mechanics from modern shooters, this Doom feels simultaneously familiar and fresh. The shotgun is still the trusty friend one remembers it being, enemies will still (sometimes literally) eat you alive if you stand still for more than a couple of seconds, and the anxiety of walking into a new room only to have the doors shut and the sound of demonic howling is more intense than ever. There’s more hand-to-hand combat, with “glory kills” being a way to pick up health power-ups. Players can upgrade their armor and weapons and earn buffs for their character, which make finding secrets, surviving damage, and dealing out damage easier.

I’ve been playing a lot of Doom myself, and I have to wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. The game is a must play for fans of modern first person shooters, as well as anyone who grew up playing the original Doom back in 1993.

Star Fox Guard Review @ School Library Journal

starfoxguardDid you know that Nintendo included a special bonus game with every copy of Star Fox Zero as part its first printing? Still available on store shelves as of this writing, Star Fox Guard is a twist on the tower defense genre where players have to defend Grippy Toad’s factory from an army of evil robots.

Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed Star Fox Guard for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox, and she found it a bit difficult:

This game didn’t work well for me because I was playing by myself. There’s just too much going on between the screens, and I wasn’t having any fun playing it. I will admit though, I am biased. I love tower defense games, and I think it’s a poor choice to label this game as only a tower defense game. It’s more like 75% action, 25% tower defense.

Star Fox Guard is also available to download from the Wii U eShop.

Dark Souls III Review @ Library Journal

darksoulsiii-boxThrough a combination of creepy gothic atmosphere and ruthless difficulty, the Dark Souls franchise has become a huge hit with video game fans the world over. Publisher Bandai Namco and developer From Software released the latest (and possibly final) game in the series, Dark Souls III (PC, PS4, Xbox One), earlier this year, and it seems just as popular as its predecessors.

Library Journal columnist M. Brandon Robbins recently reviewed the action RPG, and he wholeheartedly agreed with the public’s opinion:

The lore of the “Dark Souls” series is rich and complex, with its own fully realized mythology resembling the Norse cycle of global destruction and rebirth. In Dark Souls, the world is kept in balance by the First Fire, the source of the gods’ divine power and humanity’s salvation. However, the First Fire eventually burns out, and humans turn Undead. A Chosen Undead must relight the First Fire and birth the world anew. Each game in the series has its own variation on this basic tale. Thus, players who place stock in knowing the narrative of a game can safely jump into this with no worries.

Dark Souls III may scare away less practiced and casual gamers, but it is still an experience worth trying. This is a game that belongs in your collection and in your patrons’ hands.

Star Fox Zero Review @ School Library Journal

starfoxzeroStar Fox Zero was recently reviewed for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox by Teen Librarian Alanna Graves. Though she had a bit of trouble with the Wii U game’s unorthodox controls, it got a thumbs up in the end:

Star Fox Zero was initially supposed to come out last year in 2015, but it was pushed back until April 2016. Since it was delayed for so long, Nintendo fans have been impatiently waiting for the newest installment to the Star Fox series. For this review, I asked my partner, Andres, to play the game in multiplayer mode with me because I don’t have much experience playing Star Fox games, and he has played the original N64 version.

MLB The Show 16 Review @ School Library Journal

mlbtheshow16It’s time to play ball! Sony recently released MLB The Show 16 (PS4, PS3), the yearly addition to their popular baseball simulation series, and it was also just reviewed for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox by Teen Librarian Alanna Graves.

While it’s not for everybody, the baseball fans will love it:

This week I played MLB The Show 16. I’m not a fan of baseball, but I promised myself I would remain as unbiased as possible for this review. In real life, I think baseball is pretty boring (please don’t hate me), but I’ve enjoyed playing a variety of baseball video games in the past.

Ratchet & Clank (2016) Review @ School Library Journal

ratchetandclankWith a film adaptation now in theaters, Sony and Insomniac Games remade the original Ratchet & Clank for a new generation of players on the PS4. Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed the game for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox and found a great platformer/shooter for all ages:

I think this game is great for all ages. It is a great selection especially for kids because it’s a shooting game that isn’t overly violent, it’s funny, and players can select their difficulty before playing the game. As for teens, I think they would enjoy it because it’s one of those “classic” game series that has persevered over the years but doesn’t have a large mainstream presence (that is, until the movie comes out).