I made a promise to myself when I was about to start this review: no battle reports. I wasn't going to write sexy, sensual descriptions of what PlanetSide 2's enormous, chaotic, 2,000-player sci-fi warfare is capable of. There was a very good reason for this, and it's probably not what you're thinking: I just wasn't sure I could do it justice. Over the past week I've been taken aback by the scale of this game. What it encourages players to enact, on the ground and in the skies, and how well it scales the battles is rather extraordinary. It's laying a late claim for my game of the year.
Hitman: Absolution is two games in one -- a disappointing sequel to its predecessor, Blood Money, and a flawed but enjoyable murder simulator in its own right. Batman has his gadgets. Corvo has his magic. Agent 47 can kill you six different ways with nothing but his iconic red tie, and leave without anyone ever realizing. It's just a shame that the ultimate predator himself has to fall prey to his creators' thirst for mainstream appeal, in an overly cinematic adventure tied down by how much more it could have been.
Criterion Games' Need For Speed: Most Wanted made me forget the disappointment of Black Box's NFS The Run from my first virtual turn of the key. Although it misfires on occasion, this over-the-top arcade racer still plants a silly grin on my face, whether I'm racing AI Corvettes, breaching police roadblocks, or nitrous-boosting past desperate online opponents. It does a lot of things very right.
Medal of Honor Warfighter is an impressive multiplayer shooter with tight controls, an arsenal of weapons and modes, teamwork-promoting two-man fire teams, and an array of cool elite fighters from nations around the world. The problem is this stalwart Warfighter is also skilled in the art of shooting itself in the foot. Game-derailing bugs that should have been squashed long before launch make Warfighter's multiplayer more frustrating than fun.
They may look like unwieldy lumps of steel, but Hawken’s war machines are surprisingly agile. Meteor’s free-to-play shooter gives you control of a twenty-foot-tall mechanical warrior, but it’s not another MechWarrior: the maps here are small, and the combat snappy.
In the era of sequels and reboots, rare is something that feels new, and rarer still is something that feels new and fully realized. Dishonored then, is the golden tabby tiger of videogames. Drawing its strength from such greats as Thief, BioShock, Batman: Arkham City, and Portal, Arkane Studios' latest manages to deliver that magical formula of intimately familiar and refreshingly new. It doesn't shine as brightly as it should on PC, and it might not offer the challenge stealth-action fans are used to, but it's an impressive accomplishment that immediately stands out as one of the best things we've seen this year.