Looking through my 2018 history, I did zero video game reviews…

Let’s change that.

These are games I completed in 2018, some of which may not have released in 2018. I’ll put the initial release date in parentheses.

Mafia III (2016): Mafia 3 has a really solid story. Upon release it was hindered with game breaking bugs. This hurt sales and reviews. I got the complete edition on discount which included all the DLC and it was worth the price of admissions.

Quantum Break (2016): I bought this game in 2016 and then sat on it. This was a mistake. One of the better games I played this year. Mechanics were really cool and story was interesting, with live action episodes spaced between the game chapters.

STEEP (2016): I waited on this game until it was cheaper. This was a good decision. It is a very cool snow sport game, but not worth full price. Olympic’s DLC was too expensive but it did add a rocket powered wing suit.

Mass Effect Andromeda (2017): I rarely, if ever abandon games mid-playthrough. Mass Effect Andromeda falls into this category.

Need For Speed Payback (2017): A solid racing game through and through. One of the first games that got to utilize my Xbox One X and 4K TV. This game made news because of how poisonous the video game community can be towards developers sometimes, when they don’t get what they want. Like the delayed release date for the Skyline dlc car. (See: Dissapointed in the community – needforspeed – reddit)

Far Cry Primal (2016): I sat of the fence with this game, because although I’ve always enjoyed the Far Cry games (from 3 on…), the concept of this one made me apprehensive as it was a close quarters combat (no guns) game taking place in 10,000 BC. Story ended up being really good. I did miss the long range options, but spears turn out to be pretty brutal weapons.

The Witness (2016): A very intriguing and smart puzzle game. Too smart for me.

Sea of Thieves (2018): What’s bad about being a pirate in the open sea? When there’s nothing to do and you don’t have many friends. On launch this game struggled with repetitious grind and lack of content. They’ve added more but the content requires more crew members. Like, more than 2 which is a shame.

Injustice God Among Us: I don’t typically pick up and play fighting games. But this one really impressed me. So much so, that I got Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2018): This game is a shorter, intense story game (6 hours) focused on mental health and multiple personality traits. Gorgeous visuals and puzzle and combat gameplay. Recommended to play with surround sound headphones 🎧 to fully experience voices in your head.

Mortal Kombat X (2015): after playing and being impressed with Injustice, I figured I’d get NetherRealms’ other fighting games. I was not disappointed.

A Way Out (2018): A very story focused mandatory-co-op game with some unique elements. Both players are shown on the screen at all times in a split screen format. The game also comes with a guest pass so if you are playing online, the other party doesn’t need to buy a copy.

Injustice 2 (2017): See Injustice 1 and Mortal Kombat X

Tekken 7 (2015): Thinking I might like other fighting games, I tried Tekken 7 while it was free for a 72 hour weekend. I beat the story in one night. It’s awful. Don’t play it.

Mirrors Edge Catalyst (2016): Nice looking but wasn’t able to recreate the uniqueness and identity of the first game.

Destiny 2 (2017): Again like Mirrors Edge, this game is gorgeous compared to its predecessor. But wasn’t able to recreate what made it Destiny 1 special. Still, I played this solo, and really enjoyed the new story and gameplay changes. Played both the expansion packs but haven’t gotten to Forsaken yet.

Ori and the Blind Forest (2015): A stunning side view platform game. Difficult at times (where at one point during the final level escape my game crashed when I was able to finally succeed.)

No Man’s Sky (2018): Originally released on PS4 and PC, I waited for it to be released on Xbox after a big, big update to the game. The game has good ideas but many issues. They added coop which I appreciate, but still can’t grab my interest.

The Crew 2 (2018): Better looking and with more variety than Crew 1 (See: Boats and Planes and Hovercrafts and Bikes and Monster Trucks). But they did away with the story and they added fast travel from the start which makes the map feel immediately smaller.

God of War (2018) PS4: Game of the year from a technical and game direction stand point (See: Video Game Award 2018). How they pulled off the whole game with a seamless, no-cuts camera still amazes me. More grounded than previous God of Wars and a more humanized story. Outstanding in all categories.

Forza Horizons 4 (2018): Best in the series, which is saying a lot because the series has been stellar since its inception.

Spider-Man (2018) PS4: My personal game of the year. Tell me I’m wrong. (Then See: You’re wrong).

Red Dead Redemption II (2018): I haven’t quite finished this yet but like God of War, this game is a technical marvel from game play to visuals. Rockstar has always paid incredible attention to the most mundane of details. It means their games take 5-6 years to make. But the time pays off.

Top 5:



Quantum Break

Ori and Blind Forest

Mafia III



RIME (2017)

Publisher: Grey Box, Six Foot
Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: XboX One
Availability: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One

“RIME is a journey, but unlike Journey, it does have its share of problems.”

The first thing you’ll take away from the game is its gorgeous visuals. It’s actually appealing in sight and sound. You play the game as a lone hero; nothing super distinguishable about you save for your bright red cape. The world is rendered with beautiful cell-shaded environments, and it is very easy to get lost in the scenery and vistas, and overall scope of some of the architecture.

You start the adventure mysteriously landed on an island with no direction on what to do next. You can wade around in the water a bit, or walk along the sand scoping out the crabs. Or you can start climbing the rocks and cliffs to get your adventure started.


It’s what lays underneath this pretty face that lie the cracks.

RIME gives you no HUD or any real directions. But it will give you clever little hints as to where you’re supposed to be going, whether it be an ominous red cloaked figure off in the distance, or a light blue beacon shining into the sky. This will draw your attention in the right direction.

As the lone hero in this story, you really have no one to talk to, so there’s no dialogue, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be using your voice. Besides your hands, your voice will be your primary tool, as it appears to have some special abilities throughout the game. The game takes this “emote” mechanic right from JOURNEY, or ABZU.

Yelling as vases will shatter them. Yelling at torches or braziers will ignite them. Yelling at the little idol statues will activate them to reveal your path ahead. This is the main mechanic of the game besides platforming and exploring. If you try your voice when it’s not needed, you’ll just happily hum to yourself. At least that’s something besides silence.

At the end of the first area, after activating the necessary Idols, you will awake a Fox. This little guy is your exclusive guide for the rest of the adventure. He’ll run ahead to the next area, leading the way, and then happily yap at you when he needs to draw your attention. This mechanic doesn’t always work however, as he’s small and therefor easy to miss, and he’ll only yap at you when you’re in proximity. Sometimes he’ll vanish on you and appear at the next checkpoint, leaving you wandering around a large area trying to find out where that next checkpoint is.


The puzzles themselves are fairly intuitive and straight-forward in design. Light is the primary theme for all of the puzzles, and when you yell at torches, they’ll ignite and these little blue orbs you’ll find in walls are the main mechanic for switches. These you can pick up and carry around, and these are what activate the doors, or passages. They’ll also explode into a ball of light and defeat any strange enemies, when you yell at it. You’ll use 2 or 3 light orbs on pedestals in a single room, and arrange them to create specific shadows. Some of the puzzles work quite well.

There are also a few mind-bending puzzles that had me scratching my head a bit. In the latter areas of the adventure, there are a few rooms with a twist. Picture a large, long room. On either side, there’s two floors connected by stairs, and there’s dark hallways attached, that go deeper into the walls. If you go down any of the hallways on the bottom floor, turn a corner and then exit, you’ll find yourself on the opposite side, on the top floor.

Another long hallway area found that if you ran in the same direction, with the camera facing forward, there would be no end to the hallway, just the same area on repeat.

In yet another, final area, there’s a tall mine-shaft that you have to scale up for quite a ways. At the end is a set of stairs, and this would have you arrive at the bottom of the room you just left. These puzzles were the most interesting aspect of the game, by far, and it’s a shame that these were so few, and so late in the story.


The game does suffer from a few problems. Visually, I mentioned that the game is beautiful. Lush and vibrant colours, clever use of tones for the game mechanics, and just the scale of the architecture and camera use is impressive. This does impact the frame-rate at times. When turning the camera too fast, or if there’s a mechanic in play that’s activating, the game will stutter. Doesn’t help that it feels like the game runs at a not so smooth 30fps generally. And this is on the Xbox One and Xbox One S.

Another issue is the lack of direction at times. The Fox guide helps, sure, if you can find him. And there are a few different colour cues, or beacons to follow. But other than that, there’s not a lot of direction. Some of the areas are quite large, and a few large underwater segments as well, where you’ll need to find water bubbles just to stay under and navigate. This does encourage exploration, but as I was playing, I felt discouraged as I was quite anxiously worried that I might get lost and not know how to advance. So whenever I was given any semblance or direction, I would follow it explicitly, and not risk getting sidetracked.

Thinking about it now, this is the first time a game has ever made me feel stressed in an environment, where I didn’t want to explore for fear of getting lost. Most games I’m quite the adventurer, always willing to turn down the wrong corridor in hopes of finding come supplies.


Tequila Works has done a great job in creating a believable world, and beautifully rendered it. Considering it was built on the Unreal Engine, I was hoping for a little more fluidity in the gameplay and animations, but that could just be chocked up to a smaller development team. The puzzles are sufficient, but nothing trulely new or inspirational. Nothing we haven’t really seen before in similar games, however the mind-bending rooms were a pleasant addition  that had me stumped. Navigational cues could use some work, but that could also be a patience issue with the player. At 5 hours or so in length, depending on how much exploring you do, its not that long, but if you can make it to the end, you’re in for a heart-wrenching finish, and I hope you enjoy the ride.


The achievements are pretty standard affair. Story-based achievements, plus some hidden areas. Some scattered collectibles as well. A lot of them are easy to miss as there’s areas that become inaccessible after you pass that area. Now that I’ve completed the story once, and I’m a little more comfortable with the layout, I’ll probably go through it a 2nd time to explore more and unlock some more achievements. First play through only netted me 325/1000G.

Notable achievements:

Careful Steps (Don’t smash the eggs) – 25G
Dark and quiet (Complete the labyrinth without making a sound) – 25G








Homefront: The Revolution – Final Thoughts

I won’t be doing a full review for Homefront, as I’ve been recording my thoughts as I progress through the game. You can find the previous entries here:

Homefront The Revolution First Impressions
Homefront – The Revolution: Further Impressions

This will be my final piece though. Final Thoughts, as it were.

This title has been such a divisive experience for me. On one side, as a sequel to Homefront, which had set the bar high, I was excited for the prospect of more story to dive into. However, with The Revolution, the game is so different, it would be hard to argue that they are related.

The story still tells of a resistance group fighting against the Korean invasion. It’s still a first-person shooter, but the rest has changed. It’s not a linear game, but a segregated open-world area. The city has been split into 6 different zones, and the only way to transfer to each zone is through the resistance’s underground tunnels. They’ve added bases and outposts that need to be captured to advance, a-la the Far Cry series.

Capturing the bases and radio towers differs quite a bit as you progress through the game, and there’s not a lot of instruction in how to advance in certain parts. The game focuses a lot on exploration, and traversal of the buildings, clambering up vehicles or platforms, out windows and along exterior vents. In some instances, doors or platforms require power, which comes from a generator. The generator requires a motorcycle to rev the engine. However, to get the motorcycle to that area, you’ll have to jump it off a ramp, or drive it up a series of stairs in the adjacent building, then weave it along the catwalk or makeshift platforms that connect the two buildings. All the while, this farce is taking place in the middle of a enemy populated area. Try avoiding the scouting groups or drone fly-by.

That’s just one example. Later on, some doors require the hack tool to open, or worse yet, a stronghold will have a little ramp hidden outside of plain view, that will allow your Remote RC-Bomb to drive in, and blow open the door. That’s hoping you’ve even unlocked the RC Explosive perk. Which happens to be the final Explosive upgrade. And this Stronghold was only in the 3rd area of the game. Try explaining that to my past-self, who scoured the building for an hour trying to look for a way in.

Even after the very large patch that came out a few months back, the game is still buggy. From time to time, you’ll see objects or weapon caches just floating in the air. The initial game loading, like, when you start the game, and press “Continue from last checkpoint”. Yeah, this load screen actually wears through its own loading music before the game starts. Luckily the auto-save stalls at checkpoints are all but gone. The frame rate tanks to about 3 fps for a couple seconds, but that’s forgivable compared to what it used to play like.

I’m finally nearing the end of the campaign, and I can’t say it’s been fun. I can’t recommend it to anyone. It has its good moments, and it does tell a dire tale, one of despair and loss, of resistance against unbeatable odds – which is its only saving grace. But I shouldn’t come up against so much resistance to enjoy the game itself.




Publisher: THQ
Developer: Rainbow Studios
Platform: Xbox One Backwards Compatibility
Availability: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Released probably eons ago (actually 2009) by Rainbow Studios and THQ, MX vs ATV Reflex is the 3rd game in the MX vs ATV series.

The game has been made backwards compatible on the Xbox 360 and was recently made the Xbox Live Games With Gold free game. So I picked it up, and have been playing it a lot. A surprisingly amount actually, considering I have Forza Horizons 3 available, and I’d rather play this.


The game features Motocross Bikes, ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks, and you race out in the wilderness, over dirt, mud, water, and snow, or in an arena with jumps and obstacles. Throughout the campaign there are a few different modes. Waypoint, Nationals, Supercross, Freestyle, Omnicross, and then the Chmpionship races. Each series supports different classes of vehicles, whether they be, MX Bokes, ATVs, Buggies, or Super Trucks. The Omnicross mode which features all four types of vehicles, in my opinion, has got to be the most dangerous of all sports conceived – from the Bike’s perspective. You’re sharing the path with ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks. I think it would almost be impossible not to get killed. The trucks, in these latter modes seems to have a clear advantage over the smaller vehicles. They’re more stable, faster, and larger.

Each mode has a set of races that make up a series, and there are 3 series for each mode. They start easy, only 3 races, and then 5, and then 8. Each series more difficult, and longer, with the championship series having the longest races, and the most laps.


There are also bonus races at the end of each mode’s series. These are either elimination style, or a solo time based checkpoint race, or races where you start as the person in last place, and try to win. The MX bikes also have a free style mode in an arena, or open area, with jumps and ramps, where you get scored on your tricks.

The big change this year is the handling mechanics. The left thumbstick will control your bike or vehicle, and the right stick controls the player’s body and balance. You can lean your body into the turns or jumps to get more momentum, or to right yourself if you lose balance. The right stick also allows you to pull off tricks while flying through the air.

From a course perspective, one of the notable key additions to the series is the real-time deforming ground. As more vehicles race around a track or path, the ground and mud will show the tire tracks, and the ruts will get deeper and more torn up, as the race continues. This can throw off the player’s balance when landing or cornering.


The main issue I have with the title is the difficulty curve – specifically with the bikes. On Rookie or Moderate, the game is quite easy, and at times I found myself finishing a race 30-50 seconds ahead of the 2nd place racer. This is when I can get out ahead of the pack. If you get stuck behind, it can get very difficult to gain any placement, as the tracks and corners can be quite tight, and it is easy to knock into another racer, and fall off your bike. After a couple bails you’ll be at the back of the pack, and it will be difficult to fight your way through, to complete the race with a solid placement. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd advance, and only the championship series have multiple point rounds. This is especially notable in races where ATV’s and Buggies are racing beside you. They have no care for your well-being and will side-swipe you or knock you off the course as if you’re not there.

The game is easy on the achievements, and will tie up a lot of your time to complete all the races. As you get later in the series and championship races, they take about 10-15 minutes each to complete. The game is, however, surprisingly a lot of fun, and it feels really good when you can hit the jumps and land solidly on the other side, maintaining your rhythm and momentum. For the series that allow them, I would suggest you use the super trucks, instead of attempting the MX Bike or ATV, as you’ll be less frustrated in the end trying to compete against them.

One downside is that the game is old now, so the Xbox Live functionality has been disabled. Possibly one of the victims of THQ going bankrupts a few years ago.

Notable Achievements:
Coming on Strong (Lap an opponent in a race) – 15GLong Jumper (Land a jump of 300 feet or greater) – 15G





Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Availability: Xbox One, PS4, Windows

Batman Arkham Knight, possibly the final game in Rocksteady’s amazing trilogy, once again brings Batman out for one long night. The main villains this time around are Scarecrow (again), threatening to release his Fear gas across the whole city, and the Arkham Knight, a new villain, who is trying to take out Batman with his not-so-small army of tanks and drones.

Some of the series’ standard villains return: Poison Ivy, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn. Some of the lesser, side-mission villains include: Firefly, Man-Bat, Deathstroke, Professor Pyg, Deacon Blackfire, and Hush.

The game takes place in Gotham City, and on Halloween, one year after the death of the Joker. Scarecrow has made threats against the city. He’s planning on releasing his Fear toxin by means of explosive devices littered around town. The city has since been evacuated, and all that’s left is the bad guys.

After a brief boss battle with Scarecrow early on, Batman finds himself trapped, trying to disable the Fear gas bombs in an enclosed chamber. He does this, knowingly risking his own health, and against the better judgment of dear ol’ Alfred. As a result of this event, Batman has directly exposed himself to the Scarecrow’s Fear toxin, and for the remainder of the game we now have our long-lost friend The Joker, in our brain. The story is that the Joker, before he died, injected Batman (and a few others) with his own blood. This, combined with the Scarecrow Fear toxins, has fully revived the Joker, but only in Batman’s head. This is the best part of the game. When continuing along with the rest of the story, it seems that whenever you turn around, Joker is waiting for you, and talking away. You can turn and face the other way, and he’ll follow.

The idea and technology behind this mechanic is awesome, as the Joker always seems to appear out of nowhere, and more than once startled me with his presence.


Like the previous Arkham games, the city is wide open. In this version of Gotham, the city is split into 3 islands. By wing, you can coast and fly to each one, but you’ll have to progress through the story to lower the bridges, so that the Batmobile can follow. As well, the story progression will see you come up against the main supervillains and the Arkham Knight himself, but there are plenty of other side missions to complete along the way. Each mission requiring a certain number of completed tasks before coming up against that specific side boss directly. With Firefly, you’ll need to extinguish burning buildings and rescue firefighters, Two-face is robbing banks, Penguin has bomb stashes that need to be destroyed, etc.

The Gotham City Police Department building plays a bigger role in this game as well. You’ll find yourself driving here a lot to meet with the Commissioner or other story characters. The interesting, and very cool part of this building is whenever you enter, you first have to walk through the convict holding cells, and as the night progress, watch them slowly fill up with the villains you capture. It’s just the nice little touches that Rocksteady adds to the game that make it amazing.

The Riddler is always around, this time with 250+ trophies littered around. Additionally, this time, he’s captured Catwoman, and you need to complete a number of races involving the Batmobile, and fight off waves of enemies to save her life.

This brings me to the two big additions to the game: the Batmobile, and Co-op fights.


The Batmobile is the best addition to the series. Bar none. This game was exclusively released for the next gen consoles, and PC in mind, with an upgraded engine and visuals. The map is big enough to justify the Batmobile, and it’s a blast to drive. It’s beefy, and can drive through walls or pillars, so when speeding down the seedy Gotham streets, not much will stop you. It can be called to your location on a whim, and it is spectacular to watch it drift into view, filling the game camera, highlighting the intricacies and sheer detail of the design as Batman leaps in. Furthermore, Batman can eject himself out of the seat and into full speed wing mode. The Batmobile has a tether cable to hold on to contextual object, or pull down walls or pull itself up walls, and it has a dual function Tank mode. In Tank mode, it can drive in any direction and has beefy artillery with a 360 degree view.  The Arkham Knight has an army of tanks at his disposal, so throughout the game, you’ll find yourself in these wars, completely outnumbered, but luckily not out-gunned. The Batmobile can also be controlled remotely, when within range, guns and all.

The second big addition to the series is the co-op combat fighting. Throughout the game you’ll be paired up with Robin, Nightwing, or Catwoman, to fight again a large group, or multiple waves of enemies. Both heroes are fighting simultaneously and it’s incredible to watch it play out so seamlessly. But, at any time, you can switch perspective to the other hero, and take full control as them. This also allows for two-on-one beat downs or co-op maneuver. You almost feel sorry for the bad guys at the end of the fight, as the moves are so perfectly brutal.


Rocksteady has done an amazing job of seeing this Batman trilogy through to a satisfying conclusion. This final effort is a beautiful game, and nearly perfect in every aspect. The standard villains are there sure, but this time around, some new faces get a shot in the spotlight. The addition of Harley Quinn as a main player in the story is also a huge boon for me, and the mind-job the Joker causes during the playthrough is still memorable.

As far as Batman games go, I don’t think this one can be topped.

Good for those that like all things Batman, Bats, Punching Bad Guys and Tanks


Achievement department has the standard affair: story related, completing all the necessary tasks for each side villain, collect the Joker trophies (nope!), AR challenges, and Tank battles. Nothing truly memorable though.

Notable Achievement:

The Real Deal (Takedown 20 moving cars without using the Batmobile) – 5G