Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Bethesda Delivers Satisfying Narrative, Gameplay in Wolfenstein II

Avi Vogel, Columnist

November 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Video Games

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

Filed under ARTS, Video Games

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

Filed under ARTS, Video Games

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

Filed under ARTS, Video Games

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

Filed under ARTS, Video Games

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 ...

“Heroes” Brings Pared Down Version of Classic Nintendo Title

Avi Vogel, Columnist

March 31, 2017

Filed under Uncategorized

Nintendo released Fire Emblem Heroes, its second game for mobile devices after December’s lackluster Super Mario Run, on Feb. 2. The game is part of a series of five mobile apps created in a partnership with Japanese e-commerce company DeNA intended to help grow Nintendo’s core fan base, which has aged and waned in recent years. Much like Super Mario Run, Heroes is a simplified version of a major franchise, the Fire Emblem series, which has gained massive popularity in recent years after releases for Wii and 3DS. As a series that has previously prided itself on massive fights, short but well-written character interaction, strategy and intricate battle mechanics, there was some question as to how the games would translate...

Heroes Brings Pared Down Version of Classic Nintendo Title

Heroes Brings Pared Down Version of Classic Nintendo Title

March 31, 2017

Nintendo released Fire Emblem Heroes, its second game for mobile devices after December’s lackluster Super Mario Run, on Feb. 2. The game is part of a series of five mobile apps created in a partnership with Japanese e-commerce company DeNA intended to help grow Nintendo’s core fan base, which has aged and waned in recent years. Much like Super Mario Run, Heroes is a simplified version of a major franchise, the Fire Emblem series, which has gained massive popularity in recent years after releases...

‘Night in the Woods’ Navigates Complex Emotional Landscape

‘Night in the Woods’ Navigates Complex Emotional Landscape

March 10, 2017

Night in the Woods, released February 21, provides an intimate window into a microcosm of human narrative drawn directly from real-world struggles. The game presents an unassuming but enjoyable experience centered around character interactions, rather than grand story lines and epic battles. The early and middle sections of the game don’t cry for attention or churn out one plot device after another to drive the character forward. That’s not what the creators care about. Behind the stylized town a...

Despite Technical Problems, “For Honor” Provides Solid Gameplay

Avi Vogel, Columnist

February 24, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Features

A hundred or so blue-and-white-clad medieval knights storm a castle gate, streaming toward a pack of samurai in red armor; as the two armies meet in the center of the combat field, a hectic battle breaks out and swords fly in all directions. This was the spectacle audiences witnessed on screen during the 2015 demo of For Honor. For Honor is the most recent big-budget game to come out of publisher Ubisoft’s Montreal studio, most famous for developing the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series. It’s best described as a tactical melee-fighting game, in which you choose to play a hero from one of three different factions based on ancient warriors: The Legion, The Chosen and The Warborn, loosely representing European k...

Year in Review: Video Games Broaden Indie Scope in 2016

Avi Vogel, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS

At the end of 2015, most game publications argued that it had been the best year ever for gamers. It was a year of incredible RPGs, indie darlings that came out of nowhere and big titles reclaiming their former glory. With 2016 now behind us, it seems like that pattern continues. On the whole, games in 2016 were even better. I didn’t play every high-profile game of 2016 and most definitely wasn’t able to get around to every indie hit. But 2016 might be the year in which I played the most diverse assortment of games to date. There are some games I didn’t review this past year that are emblematic of what an incredible year it was for games. First is VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action — pronounced Valhalla ...

New Pokémon “Sun”, “Moon” Evoke Nostalgia with Improved Gameplay, Setting

Avi Vogel, Staff Writer

December 9, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Visual Art

There’s something about video games that ties gamers to their childhood. Although games are constantly evolving to keep up with the times, there are some with a rare ability to harken back to their predecessors. For many, the Pokémon series sits on a pedestal of nostalgia; an old go-to that exemplifies what they love about games. Pokémon Sun and Moon, the two newest entries simultaneously released Nov. 18 by developer Game Freak, bring the most innovation to the series since Pokémon Gold and Silver while retaining the series’ playability and its nostalgic appeal. Creature-collecting games with light role-playing elements, the experience focuses on leveling up Pokémon and building a well-rounded team that can ...

Established 1874.