Plugged In

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.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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.

Review: ‘NBA 2K18’

nba2k18-stephkd

As the start of the 2017-18 NBA season approaches, there are plenty of question marks around the league.

How will Kyrie Irving fare in Boston?

Can the Cavaliers remain dominant in the Eastern Conference without Irving?

Will the Big 3 of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony be enough to lift Oklahoma City into contention in the Western Conference?

Is this the year New Orleans or Minnesota take the next step and challenge for playoff berths?

Despite the unknowns, there are a couple of sure things this season — LeBron James is the best player in the league, the road to the NBA championship goes through Golden State and “NBA 2K18” is the best basketball sim on the market.

Continue reading…

Review: ‘Destiny 2’

destiny2review

As a solo player in a multiplayer world, it can often be difficult to find enjoyment in games that, frankly, weren’t created with me in mind.

The original “Destiny” is one such example of this, an online shared-world shooter that served up its best content to players who teamed together while offering only an uninteresting and brief campaign to those seeking a more solitary experience.

The fact that the game was developed by Bungie — a studio which made its name by creating a shooter franchise, “Halo,” that successfully appealed to both solo players and multiplayer fans, alike — made the shortcomings of “Destiny” all the more glaring. I wasn’t looking for a “Halo” clone, but I was hoping for a game I could enjoy without the need to team up with a bunch of random players.

And that’s exactly what Bungie delivered this time around with “Destiny 2.”

Continue reading…

Review: ‘NASCAR Heat 2’

nascarheat2There was a series of events during the running of the Daytona 500 in my “NASCAR Heat 2” season mode that pretty much boils down my experiences with the game in a nutshell.

As the laps ticked down in the final stage, I had methodically worked my way up through the field when practically every AI-controlled car decided to come to pit road under green at the same time — something that never, ever happens in an actual NASCAR race.

As one could imagine, this caused a massive pile-up. As I veered off the track and onto the infield grass in hopes of avoiding the carnage, my eyes were drawn to a car flipping over and over and over again down the track. It was the No. 33 of Jeffrey Earnhardt, and it was the kind of crash that any driver would simply be happy to walk away from in one piece.

Yet Earnhardt didn’t walk away. Or even get out of his car. Nope, he stayed strapped into his ride and went on to race the final 15 laps, finishing on the lead lap, just outside the top 10.

All I could do was put down my controller and shake my head.

Continue reading…

‘Destiny 2’ impressions — The first week

destiny2

“Destiny 2,” the ambitious first-person shooter from Bungie and Activision, has been out in the wild for a week now. During that time, I’ve been doing my part to return Light to the universe and, of course, collect as much sweet loot as possible.

Though “Destiny 2,” like its predecessor, is largely designed to be played with a group, I have again decided to take the lone-wolf approach to experiencing all the game has to offer. I’ve spent the first week focusing on the campaign and tackling an assortment of story-driven side quests available, known as Adventures. I’ve also lent my rifle to helping other Guardians take down bad guys in large-scale public events — not to make friends, of course, but to collect that lovely loot and level up my own Guardian so that I can continue on my mission.

I’ve not yet finished the campaign, so I’m not going to assign an official score to “Destiny 2” today. Instead, I thought I’d offer up a few observations from my time with my review copy thus far:

Continue reading…

We’re less than 24 hours from taking the court in “NBA 2K18” as the free demo, dubbed The Prelude, launches Friday. To mark the occasion, 2K Sports has released a new trailer highlighting what we can expect.

Available free for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners, The Prelude lets gamers take their first steps into The Neighborhood, 2K18’s new shared-world mode.

“NBA 2K18” launches Sept. 15 on PS4 and Xbox One.

 

New ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’ trailer

This week’s “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” trailer spotlights the expanded Nemesis System, which tracks your interactions with orcs in the game world and scripts their personal stories accordingly.

For example, sparing an orc in battle may lead to him joining your crusade as a follower. Likewise, lopping his arm off is something he’ll remember, too, and may cause him to rise up against you later.

The Nemesis System was one of the highlights of the first “Middle-earth” game and I’m excited to see how it has been expanded and improved upon for “Shadow of War.” Check out the video above for a closer look at the Nemesis System in action.

“Middle-earth: Shadow of War” launches Oct. 10 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

It can — and probably is —  said every year, but the roster for this year’s WWE video game is shaping up to be the most impressive collected.

Indeed, the most recent group of 43 playable characters announced for “WWE 2K18” continues the trend from the first two roster reveals by including NXT stars, established main-roster guys (and girls), popular legends and a few first-timers.

The big names that jumped out at me from this week’s list are two of those aforementioned first-timers, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, formerly known as the tag team DIY. Like many fans, I was pretty bummed that the “powers that be” saw fit to break up this duo, so I’m already looking forward to correcting that wrong and reuniting them in my virtual WWE universe.

For a look at another tag team making its series debut, check out the entrance video for the Authors of Pain above.

Here’s the complete list of names revealed this week: Akam, Alexa Bliss, Apollo Crews, Asuka, Big Cass, Carmella, Cedric Alexander, Chad Gable, Chris Jericho, Dana Brooke, Dash Wilder, Finn Bálor, Jason Jordan, Jimmy Garvin, Johnny Gargano, Kevin Owens, Lex Luger, Michael P.S. Hayes, Mick Foley, Miss Jacqueline, Mr. Perfect, Neville, Nia Jax, Nick Miller, Randy Savage, Razor Ramon, Rezar, Ric Flair, Rick Martel, Rick Rude, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Rikishi, Roderick Strong, Rusev, Samoa Joe, Scott Dawson, Seth Rollins, Shane Thorne, TJP, Tommaso Ciampa, Tye Dillinger and Vader.

“WWE 2K18” releases Oct. 17 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.