Author: Mike Bracken

Three reasons why The Elder Scrolls Online might be a bad idea

The Elder Scrolls Online Screenshot

Since the days of Morrowind, players and game critics alike have often described Bethesda's beloved Elder Scrolls series as "an offline MMO." The titles have had many of the elements that make Massively Multiplayer titles like World of Warcraft a huge hit, but it's never allowed for other players to come together and share the experience—until now.

Asura’s Wrath Review

When do I Actually Get to Play this "Game"?

Asura's Wrath Screenshot

HIGH It's only six hours long, so my suffering was short-lived.

LOW So many options… how about the fact that I spent a huge chunk of that six hours doing nothing but watching a cruddy subpar anime masquerading as a video game?

WTF A character possesses a sword so large that it can stab through one side of a planet and out the other with length to spare.

Relive the arcade’s glory days in Lincoln Ruchti’s documentary Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade Image

Lincoln Ruchti's Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade takes us back to a time when the country was gripped in the throes of a serious case of Pac-Man Fever and chronicles not only Twin Galaxies' Official Scorekeeper Walter Day, but the pimply-faced teenagers who were the kings of the arcade. It is at once a fascinating look into a relatively new medium's (videogaming is only set to turn 40 this year) past and an examination of how these men's lives were influenced by their passions.

SSX Review

Insert Your Own "It's Tricky" Joke Here

SSX Screenshot

HIGH Logging in to see you've earned credits when friends failed to beat your scores.

LOW Dropping into another bottomless pit a hundred yards from the finish line.

WTF Why does reversing time only affect me and not anyone else?

Zack Zero Review

Zack Really is a Zero

Zack Zero Screenshot

HIGH Some of the quasi-3D graphical effects are interesting.

LOW Repeatedly plummeting to my death because the controls only work some of the time.

WTF The ending—the only way it could be worse is if the narrator said "it was all a dream…"

Crafting Nightmares: Why Amnesia’s Dark Descent terrifies audiences

Amnesia: The Dark Descent Screenshot

There have been some genuinely scary horror games over the years – everything from Silent Hill and Fatal Frame to PC titles like Clive Barker's Undying and so on. Each has worked diligently to merge the idea of the horror narrative with compelling gameplay in order to craft experiences that keep gamers playing even while they cower in fear behind their controllers. As great as some of those have been, few have been as perfect as Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Bracken’s Best Games of 2011

Shadows of the Damned Screenshot

Twenty-eleven was not a banner year for games. Sure, the fourth quarter was once again overfilled with AAA titles that brought in billions of dollars of revenue (and review scores centered squarely at the top end of the scoring chart), but many of those titles weren't exactly mindblowing in their awesomeness. The games weren't bad, mind you—it's just hard to shake the feeling that 2011's fourth quarter was more about treading water.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Second Opinion

Beautifully Boring

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Screenshot

HIGH Climbing to the top of a mountain, seeing a location far off in the distance, and being able to travel to it.

LOW The endless series of repetitive filler quests that do nothing but pad the game's running time.

WTF Why is it okay that the main quest is so boring that people brag about not completing it?