Video Game Reviews

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Diablo 3
Blizzard
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3, PC, OS X
Street: 05.15.12 (PC/OS X) 09.03 (Console)

Though I was excited to hear that Blizzard had planned to release a console version of Diablo 3, part of me remained skeptical about the transition. I’ve played console versions of PC games before, and it isn’t rare to notice that something crucial about the gameplay has been lost in translation. After playing Diablo 3 on Xbox 360, I have to say that I am impressed with the transition. Combat and dungeon-crawling is still fast and frenetic, and the character skill-mapping works surprisingly well on a controller. The single-player game is definitely satisfying, but for those who are looking for a cooperative adventure, it’s easy to either jump into a public game or create your own and invite your buddies. My primary gripe with Diablo 3 is that it eschews the exploration of a potentially rich storyline for plot tropes and characters from the first two installments. I loved bringing down the ghost of King Leoric and The Butcher in the first Diablo, but do we really need to do it again? Regardless, fans of mass monster murders and loot-grabbing will be right at home with Diablo 3. –Alex Springer

Echoes – Episode 1: Greenhearth
Available on: iOS
Street Date: 05.15

The point-and-click genre has it pretty rough these days—especially on iOS, where companies like Big Fish Games pump the same re-skinned titles out month after month. It’s not a genre where developers take a lot of chances in terms of gameplay mechanics, instead relying on story and interesting worlds to carry the weight of interest with players. This is exactly what Echoes–Episode 1 tries to do, but it’s such a hands-off, unintuitive experience, it doesn’t invoke much of anything but frustration. A recent update made some much-needed improvements to the English grammar, but the film noir-ish story of a grizzled cop in a strange land was never that interesting or unique to begin with. More so, the game just isn’t fun to play: Interrogating “persons of interest” is such a vague, unexplained activity (the only real “gameplay” of the game, I might add) that it becomes a series of hit-or-miss interactions where repetition is the only way to make sense of things. Bland, repetitive, illogical: Echoes is a game whose initial ambitions bleed quickly into mediocrity, a forgettable entry in a crowded App Store genre. –Randy Dankievitch