A brief lull in the climactic battle of The Witcher proved the most memorable moment in the entire game. As I stood amid the corpses of my fresh kills I spotted a dead female elf lying in the dirt. I’ve killed her, I thought. She was not one of my assailants, I didn’t actually cut her down, but after making it to this point I finally began to understand the repercussions of my actions throughout the game, the choices I had made that led to this moment. And for that brief moment I felt something wholly unique in my video game career: deep regret.
Note: This is a review of the Assault on Dark Athena version of Escape from Butcher Bay which features a few gameplay tweaks and an annoying extra layer of graphical shininess.
I am the shadow in the night, the phantom that haunts your dreams, that which the darkness fears. As I slowly descent down the flight of stairs, screwdriver in hand, I anticipate the kill, see the prey, prepare for the lunge. I step into the light and as I prepare for that moment, that blissful moment of ecstasy, the prey turns around.
Picking up after the events of the first game, Mass Effect 2 opens with the death of Shepard. A few years later, The Illusive Man, the shady leader of a group called Cerberus that believes the ends justify the means, reconstructs Shepard from his or her recovered DNA. The setup is a perfect opportunity to explore questions of identity, human nature and the soul, a thematic staple of classic sci-fi texts. Instead, the game sidesteps philosophical pondering and makes a popcorn blockbuster, sending Shepard to collect a team of deadly killers to fight a new threat to humanity: The Collectors, a group of aliens wiping out fringe human colonies.
The goal of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is not to investigate the disappearance of a military group in the Zone. The real goal of the game is to survive The Zone, a post-apocalyptic futuristic area surrounding the Chernobyl accident. Radiation has leaked out, leaving a world dangerous and unpredictable but also one full of profitable secrets and scientific marvels.
At its finest moments, Just Cause 2 is pure, unadulterated fun. As you effortlessly grapple from tree to tree, raining down bullets on your enemies and dropping grenade amid highly combustible fuel tanks you’ll find yourself hooked upon the simple, but well-polished acts of destruction. It’s a pyrotechnics dream as your mission is simple: blow up as much of the island as you can.