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...

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...

“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...

‘That Dragon, Cancer’ a Powerful Exploration of Grief

Avi Vogel, Columnist

February 12, 2016

Editor’s Note: This article contains references to cancer and death. You may have noticed that each of my columns has followed roughly the same formula: I include an image from that week’s game, introduce the game’s genre and gameplay, survey its pros and cons and offer a final opinion on the game as an entire package. But I can’t do that this week. Not with this game. That Dragon, Cancer is a story and an experience made by people who have been impacted by a certain sort of emotional trauma, intended for those who might not have been through such an experience. It is an independent “game” released by a small team, including Ryan and Amy Green. Ryan and Amy are married and had a son named Joel, who w...

Clever Gameplay ‘Hand of Fate’s’ Focal Point

Clever Gameplay ‘Hand of Fate’s’ Focal Point

December 11, 2015

There are two cards in front of my small golden game piece, each one representing an upcoming encounter. I don’t have enough food to sustain my character, and my health points are down to 20. This all means I’ll be dead soon unless I get some supplies, even if these encounters don’t end up being especially dangerous. I take a breath and press the ‘A’ button; the card flips over, and I die in 30 seconds. Moments like these, which seem arbitrary and completely luck-based, happen each and...

Visuals, Soundtrack Enhance Hotline Miami

Avi Vogel, Columnist

November 6, 2015

Hotline Miami is a game about killing everyone in sight. Sure, there is more to this game: It boasts a unique art style, an incredible soundtrack and tight controls. All of these elements are solid on their own, but developer Dennaton Games brings them together in Hotline Miami for a single purpose: to make the act of killing enjoyable. Whether or not that sounds agreeable to you will dictate whether you will believe Hotline Miami deserves veneration or outright hatred. However, most gamers will find it worthy of praise on the level of pure enjoyability. Released way back in 2012 — but recently put on sale in celebration of the release of its sequel — Hotline Miami is a top-down, fast-paced, bombastic shooter that ...

Unique Storyline a Highlight of Futuristic Game

Unique Storyline a Highlight of Futuristic Game

September 4, 2015

When I started Over The Moon Games’ The Fall, I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d put this game on my wishlist after reading its description: a dark sciencefiction game that promises to ask deep questions regarding artificial intelligence and centers on a character stranded on a planet. Everything I read encouraged the player to leave behind the idea that this was a game in any traditional sense. Rather, critics encouraged gamers to see it as an interactive, highly linear story. To me, t...

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