As a major Harry Potter fan I was obliged to play this. The “Lego” games are in fact movie games in a really adorable form. The best thing I can say about it is the fact that you get to explore the grounds of Hogwarts Castle. While you are visiting the Great Hall, walking along the covered bridge, walking around snow covered Hogsmede, & battling dementors at night above the castle grounds, John Williams incredible music is playing in the background. It’s enough solicit an emotional response. Leveling up also syncs with the story as each progressing year Harry learns more powerful spells. The only negative is that Year 4 is rushed since its length is quite short compared to the previous years. This game offers fans of the Potter series an excuse to revisit childhood memories. Grade B
Far Cry 3
After 55 hours of hunting exotic wildlife from Sumatran Tigers to Komodo dragons, gathering plants for making narcotic cocktails, battling African pirates, arms dealers, human traffickers, mercenaries, & drug lords, I finally beat FARCRY3. The story never compelled me but the games self awareness makes it fun as the hero revels in how much fun it is in just blowing shit up or lighting things on fire. This game definitely lives up to its title as being transported to this lawless third world tropical island overflowing with insanity is an eerie experience that’s as far removed from Western civilization as it’s possible to get. Felt like playing a pulpy 80’s action movie with a soundtrack & villains to match. Grade A-
This is the first game I’ve played where I cared more about the cut scenes than the actual gameplay itself. The zombie apocalypse setting is pretty standard stuff we’ve seen before but its the emotional story at the heart of this that makes it so special. Ellie is a fantastic character, voiced evocatively by Ashley Johnson, & I was astonished at how much of an emotional attachment you form with her as you play her father figure Joel. Being a teenager during the zombie apocalypse isn’t easy so its very rewarding when Ellie has moments of adolescent levity amidst the horror all around (I loved the scene with her & Joel as they drive in the pick up truck). The best part of the story is when Joel emotionally comforts Ellie at the end of her terrifying ordeal during the Winter chapter. The human emotions here are eerily real. Grade A
Playing this has been one of my most memorable gaming experiences ever. Admittedly I’m biased because the game is set in my own homeland, the Mayan world of the Caribbean, & being able to explore it during the Golden Age of Piracy was a dream come true. I loved being able to sail my ship across the sea, visit breathtaking uncharted tropical islands, explore Mayan ruins in the jungle, swim with manta rays, dive into shipwrecks, engage in epic naval combat & board enemy ships to battle its crew & steal their plunder. The 18th century Caribbean is a wonderful place to explore. It’s the type of open world game with lots to discover (My favorite discoveries were the secret pirate coves). Though I do agree that it would’ve been even better without the AC lore, the story still has a lot of emotionally compelling moments that are very moving & the soundtrack is excellent. After 186 hours logged in I made it to 99% completion. The best Pirate game of all.