Plugged In

Review: ‘NASCAR Heat 3’

When you think of team sports, NASCAR probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But while the driver may be the face of the franchise, getting all of the TV time and sponsorship deals, there’s a reason they are quick to acknowledge the “boys back at the shop” when they celebrate in Victory Lane — there is a small army of engineers, fabricators and engine builders who put in hours of thankless work in order to give the driver a car capable of winning on Sundays.

In “NASCAR Heat 3,” the latest offering from Monster Games and 704 Games, the idea of racing as a team sport is explored in the revamped Career Mode.

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Crucible Chronicles — A Forsaken review

Being a true account of the author’s trials and travails in Destiny 2 PvP

Vol. 2

Destiny 2: Forsaken went live roughly a week ago, and I’ve been playing through it. Having finished the campaign on two characters and made it to the Dreaming City, the new endgame destination, I now feel qualified to write a review. But be advised: I’m disorganized, and this is a blog (as in, not part of my actual job here), so be ready for it to be a little scattershot. Just sayin’.

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Review: ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’

The evolution of Lara Croft is now complete. A journey that began with 2013’s “Tomb Raider” reboot reaches a satisfying and emotionally charged conclusion in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” the final installment of a trilogy designed to bring one of gaming’s most storied franchises — and most iconic characters — into the modern age.

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Review: ‘Madden NFL 19’

For years, fans of EA Sports’ “Madden NFL” series have been clamoring for significant updates to the game’s Franchise Mode. The mode, in which users take control of their favorite NFL team and guide the franchise through multiple seasons, has long been a favorite of hardcore fans, but has seen little love from developers who seemingly focused their efforts on building up Madden Ultimate Team, the collectible card mode that has continued to grow in popularity in recent years.

In “Madden NFL 19,” the wait is finally over for franchise fans.

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Following its reveal at E3, the buzz surrounding “Fallout 76” continues to grow. While developer Bethesda has been tight-lipped with regard to any new details about the game, a short behind-the-scenes video offers some insight into the making of one of the year’s most anticipated titles.

Noclip, producers of crowdfunded YouTube documentaries about video games, recently released “The Making of Fallout 76,” which sheds light on the early development process, including the decision to set the game in West Virginia and how the team adapted the Mountain State’s geography in order to make a more game-friendly environment. You can check out the video below:

“Fallout 76” launches Nov. 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. Those who want to experience the game earlier can preorder a copy to gain access to a beta, the dates for which have yet to be announced. For information about “Fallout 76,” click here to visit the official website.

 

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the midway point of 2018. The first half of the year has been filled with a number of high-profile releases, with the likes of “God of War” and “Detroit: Become Human” arriving on PlayStation 4, “State of Decay 2” landing on Xbox One and “Far Cry 5” dropping on multiple platforms.

As is usually the case, the frequency of Triple-A releases slows during the summer months, setting the stage for the end-of-year holiday rush, which this year features what could be the best collection of games we’ve seen in some time, with highly anticipated titles like “Red Dead Redemption 2,” Call of Duty: Black Ops 4″ and “Fallout 76” set to arrive before the calendar turns to 2019.

With a lull in the action, this seems like a good time to take a look back at some of the games I’ve been enjoying so far in 2018:

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Counting down the top video games of 2017

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2017 wasn’t exactly a great year for yours truly. As the year began, I found myself mired in a rut and with zero desire to pick up a controller, something I wrote about in this space last summer. And as some of you may know, the year ended with the passing of my dad after a short battle with leukemia. The time in between? That frankly wasn’t much better.

While 2017 is, by and large, a year I would just as soon forget, it was a surprisingly good year for gaming — Nintendo recaptured its magic with the Switch, Sony struck gold with console exclusives and Microsoft brought the phenomenon known as “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” to the console market.

Before completely shifting the focus to what lies ahead in the new year, let’s take one last look back at 2017 as I count down my picks for the Top 10 games of the year:

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Review: ‘The Evil Within 2’

Way back in 2014, “Resident Evil” director Shinji Mikami and his Tango Gameworks studio set the bar for modern survival-horror games with “The Evil Within.” Now three years later, Tango has delivered a sequel that maintains the creepy vibe of Mikami’s vision while offering more of what made the original game such an unforgettable experience.

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I’m not ashamed to say that “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” is one of my most-anticipated games of the fall release season. The original “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” remains one of my favorite games of last generation and is hands-down the title my kids and I spent the most time playing together.

And “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” looks like the bigger, better sequel we’ve been waiting on for years.

In addition to unveiling a new story trailer recently at New York Comic Con, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced what players can expect in the way of DLC and the obligatory Season Pass.

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The next entry in EA’s action driving franchise, “Need for Speed: Payback,” is racing toward retail, and today the publisher unveiled the game’s official story trailer. You can take it for a test drive above.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for “Need for Speed” as the early iterations on PC were some of the first racing games I ever played. Though the series has hit a few potholes over the years, “Payback” has certainly piqued my interest.

“Need for Speed: Payback” launches Nov. 10 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.