ESPORTS4INDIE

Stephen Martino

Stephen Martino

Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color. 

LEGO DC Super-Villains offers a gigantic array of villains and heroes that all have their own unique abilities and quirks on top of a deep character creation tool that allows players to fill any of the gaps that the developers didn’t.

Yakuza 0 offers a riveting tale of organized crime and an action-packed, open world filled with interesting characters to PC players who missed out on the Playstation release two years ago.

To Hell with Hell uses a plethora of exhaustible masks with abilities to offer a great new mechanic to the roguelike crawler genre, but overall lacks a considerable amount of mechanical fine-tuning.

Wizard of Legend finally delivers the spellcasting combat that mage fanboys have been dreaming of, with fast-paced action and seamless bending of the elements.

Vampyr takes the humorously ironic situation of a hematologist-turned-vampire and spins it into a compelling and poetic tragedy with a focus on both combat and decision-making.

Omensight is a unique murder mystery that excels in narrative but is hindered by elementary combat.

Beautiful visuals and frenzied button smashing are all that compensate for this title’s lack of progression, lack of variety in enemies, and lack of difficulty.

For the King refuses to hold your hand, making it a real challenge that feels rewarding. Despite its slow combat, there’s a ton of enjoyable content to make it worth your while.

If you’re terrified this will be the same experience as all the other entries in the Far Cry franchise, don’t be. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. While there isn’t revolutionary reinvention, Ubisoft Montreal has proven they’re listening to their fans. It’s everything you’d expect, with a ton of extras thrown on top. The destruction of stealth and the infuriatingly inconsistent AI are exceptions, but everything else that has done the series good in the past does it justice once again. The arcade mode alone shows enough potential to produce content far beyond the main campaign. This is a great game that shines a bright future on a once-declining franchise.

A lack of variety in combat, some inevitable grinding, and lowbrow humor are shortfalls (unless you like those things), but it has a good sense of progression. Warriors: Rise to Glory adds a modern spin to a niche that isn’t worn out yet.

Rather than try and make a quick buck out of cheap thrills, Dynamic Pixels and tinyBuild took the popular trope of hide-and-seek horror and twisted it into something new and creative.  There is a great game buried here, as long as the development studio fixes the problems currently plaguing Hello Neighbor...  And if they can manage to really polish it, then the horror genre has much innovation to offer.

ELEX is an ode to fans of Gothic and Risen, and fans will most likely be satisfied. How detailed the title is makes it clear: Piranha Bytes isn’t trying to cash in on an aging franchise.  That being said, the issues cannot be brushed aside. It’s been nearly two decades since the studio published its first game, Gothic I, and what plagued the earlier titles plagues ELEX as well. And that, is a problem.

Black Day is an “Early Access” third person shooter with FPS elements.  Rather than focusing on a set story and setting, Black Day is a military sandbox where players change the parameters of their missions.  Featuring an experience-based progression system, Black Day rewards players for handicapping themselves via difficult obstacles with new equipment and maps.  Helios Productions self proclaims this title as “very ambitious,” promising that they only want to provide an excellent final product.  The promise of so many features, paired with the beauty of the Unreal Engine, begs the question; is it able to deliver on its ambition?

Throne of Lies is yet another addition to the very specific social deduction genre, requiring time and patience to get the best experience.  For those who don’t mind doing a little bit of homework before starting a game, Throne is a great experience which raises the bar for the genre.