The Oberlin Review

An Obie Recommends: “Night in the Woods” Video Game

Kirsten Heuring

October 4, 2019

 During my second year of college, I was browsing video game playthroughs on YouTube. It was spring semester exam week and I was trying to find something to get me through the 20-something pages I needed to write. I stumbled upon a series of videos on a game called Night in the Woods. The art style looked cute and quirky, and it seemed like something that would keep my mind from completely being numbed by the monotony of academic essays. I clicked on the playlist. What started as some pleasant background noise to keep me focused became a distraction in and of itself. Instead of focusing on the essays I needed to write, I was drawn in by the existential crises of an anthropomorphic cat. I resolved to buy it and pla...

“God of War” Wrestles with Violence, Wins

“God of War” Wrestles with Violence, Wins

May 11, 2018

“Don’t be sorry. Be better.” This harsh lesson, uttered in actor Christopher Judge’s gravelly baritone, can be considered a thesis statement for the excellent God of War, Sony Santa Monica’s latest PlayStation 4 exclusive release and the fifth mainline entry in the controversial series. Some might have looked at Kratos, a Spartan demigod, and seen an irredeemable murderer with nowhere left to go but Hell, but director Cory Barlog had a vision of his own. A mainstay of the first two games...

Jam City Invites Fans to Hogwarts Via Mobile Game

Lucy Martin, This Week Editor

May 4, 2018

Congratulations! You have finally been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — at the tender age of 21. Ever since Pokemon Go came out two years ago, fans of Harry Potter have clamoured for an interactive mobile game of their own. There were a multitude of fan-made trailers anticipating gameplay, incorporating elements such as catching fantastic beasts or collecting chocolate frog cards from the equivalent of Pokestops. However, the gameplay construction of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is more akin to The Sims mobile app that came out earlier this year than to Pokemon Go. Much like The Sims, you design and control your avatar and use limited energy to complete events. Each event holds the potent...

Cooperative Game Will Make Players Long for “A Way Out”

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

March 30, 2018

Editor’s note: This review contains light spoilers for Josef Fares’ A Way Out. “If you don’t like it, you can break my legs.” These were the words of Swedish game developer Josef Fares in anticipation of his new title, A Way Out. The two-player cooperative game requires players to work together to escape from prison as convicts named Leo and Vincent before hunting down the man who wronged them both. With its unique use of a split-screen mechanic that favors one player’s vision over the other depending on their current situation, A Way Out’s conceit is brilliant. One wonders, then, whether it’s a greater shame for players or for Fares himself that the game is a steaming pile of horse manure. Fares’ be...

“The Fall” Franchise Fails to Live up to Expectations in Sequel

Avi Vogel, Columnist

March 2, 2018

Developed by Over the Moon, The Fall Part 2: Unbound is an adventure video game that continues the story from The Fall and features the previous game’s main character, an Autonomous Robotic Interface Device — an artificial intelligence being with a combat suit, who calls itself ARID. In this game, recently released on Feb. 13, you awake as ARID, with no ability to move your body, and to a hostile user attempting to deactivate you. The game tasks you with figuring out who is attacking you and how to save yourself. You do this by exploring a virtual space, hopping between other robots with their own sets of rules, and occasionally shooting dark tentacle-like bits that spew out from different points in the virtual world...

Nintendo Releases “Animal Crossing” Game for Mobile

Lucy Martin, This Week Editor

December 8, 2017

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the latest in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing games — but instead of being for the Nintendo DS, it’s a mobile phone app. It has many similar features to previous games, such as character customization, fishing, and bug catching, but also adds in new elements. The game blends old and new so seamlessly that those who have never played the game before will get just as much enjoyment as those who have been playing the games since Wild World came out. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp tasks your character with creating a campground by using resources you’ve received for helping out local animals. There are different campground themes available such as cute, natural, cool, and sporty, and the ani...

Bethesda Delivers Satisfying Narrative, Gameplay in Wolfenstein II

Avi Vogel, Columnist

November 10, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of Nazism and child abuse. The opening of a game is a thematic statement, meant to tease where a story might go without showing all of its cards. So when Wolfenstein II begins not with a bombastic scene of war like its predecessor did, but by delving into the consequences of conflict and the family history of its main character, one must take a moment and examine what’s going on. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which was released on Oct. 27 by Bethesda Softworks and developed by MachineGames, is the sequel to one of the biggest gaming surprises of 2014. The first Wolfenstein was set in an alternate history where the Nazis had won WWII and conquered the world. La...

SideBar Releases Realistic New Take on Golf Games

Avi Vogel, Columnist

October 27, 2017

Sports video games typically function as emulations: players run and pass in football games or throw and hit in baseball games. However, some gaming developers have reconsidered sports games platforms, gearing them toward storytelling in some cases. That’s where Golf Story comes in. Golf Story is independent pixel-art golf game from Sidebar Games released at the end of September for the Nintendo Switch. In the game you play as a person who, after not playing golf since childhood, returns to the sport. The story is simple; the golfer aspires to play professionally, despite never playing seriously before. The journey that follows is an elegant romp through a small world of golf courses. Golf Story is split between...

“Observer” Horrorscape Creates Shiver-Inducing Gameplay

Avi Vogel, Columnist

October 6, 2017

Science fiction allows us to look at the future while tackling issues of the present. In an increasingly bleak world, there seem to be two approaches to the genre: imagining a setting that grapples and resolves our dilemmas, and creating a future that makes current shortcomings seem minor in comparison. Observer, a first-person horror game from Bloober Team, follows the latter approach. Set in the year 2084, the world is presented as a cyberpunk dystopia. In this world, the line between human and machine is thin as humanity and technology meld together, presented as the norm. A disease — the “Nanophage” — and a huge war called the Great Decimation plague life in the game and cause mass casualties. This combin...

Nintendo Delivers The First Console That Can Go Wherever You Do

Avi Vogel, Columnist

September 22, 2017

In October of last year, Nintendo finally announced their long-anticipated console, the Nintendo Switch. With it, they promised a home console that could be played on the go. They also demonstrated ease in local multiplayer, something that almost every platform has struggled with since long before the console generation. Since its launch in March, the Switch has exceeded expectations and brought about a revolution in the gaming industry, despite the classic Nintendo issues that persist. Before purchase, it’s important to know the two pieces that comprise any console: the hardware (the console itself) and the software (the games available at launch). As a piece of hardware, the Switch is a marvel. While the commerci...

OReilly Offers Players Chance to Be “Everything”

Avi Vogel, Columnist

April 28, 2017

Games are an ever-evolving medium as developers try to stand out in an increasingly competitive and saturated market by creating new games and mechanics. But with all games, new or old, one thing is universal: They let you be something that you’re not. This is the core concept of Everything, created by artist David OReilly, which was originally released back in March on PlayStation 4 and just became available for Mac and PC. Everything is a game about just that — everything. If that sounds impossibly complex, it is, and explaining the game requires some detachment from what a game is “supposed to be.” I began the game playing as a camel, exploring an expansive desert. After playing for a while, I learn som...

With “Blackwood Crossing,” Players Find Beauty in Sadness

With “Blackwood Crossing,” Players Find Beauty in Sadness

April 14, 2017

Loss is a difficult concept to grapple with. We dance around the issue, often refusing to acknowledge it. Even when forced to face it head on, we try to ignore the facts and pretend that whatever is causing the loss we feel never happened. But eventually, we hopefully make a change. This is the central theme behind Blackwood Crossing, a game released April 4 by British developer Paper Seven. Blackwood Crossing is a “walking simulator” — a form those who have played games like The Stanley ...

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