OXCGN’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Review


OXCGN’s Splinter Cell Blacklist Review

Modern stealth perfected

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

SCBL_XBOX360_2D_ANZIf you’ve ever happened to read any of my multitude of opinion pieces here at OXCGN, you’ll find something that’s quite clear: I love Splinter Cell.

In my opinion, it’s the ultimate spy story and stealth game. You’ve got the character you can’t help but love, the gameplay that identifies its place within the market, the atmosphere to support the illusion, and a believable fiction that’s intoxicatingly immersive.

I fell in love with Chaos Theory many moons ago, and I believe that it was the best game of the last generation. Since that precedent was set, fans have been yearning for the one successor that’d usurp Chaos Theory, and be the true sequel to that incredible experience.

We didn’t quite get that with Double Agent or Conviction. And it’s been eight years since Chaos Theory.

From the bottom of my heart, I can assuredly say that Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the true successor to Chaos Theory, and is not only the best Splinter Cell title ever released, but quite possibly one of the greatest stealth games I’ve ever played.

Splinter Cell Blacklist review here

OXCGN’s Payday 2 Review


OXCGN’s Payday 2 Review

The year’s best co-op game?

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

payday_2_oxcgn1It’s something that everyone fed a diet of American TV and movies understands: the heist.

Bad guys try to take something, good guys try to stop them.

Payday: The Heist took this concept and made it an entertaining cooperative video game experience, and the sequel, Payday 2, is back and better than ever.

Kicking off the fall release season right, it’s one of the most polished games I’ve ever played.  And I’ve played a lot of games. Continue reading OXCGN’s Payday 2 Review

OXCGN’s Saints Row IV Review


OXCGN’s Saints Row IV Review

The Crackdown sequel we’ve always wanted

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

saints_row_oxcgn1In 2006, Volition under THQ gave us a GTA clone called Saints Row. And, in effect, that’s really all it was: a GTA clone capturing the open world market in a world before next-gen GTA.

I fell in love. It had a relatively serious story which was engaging, and the customization factor of the Saints diversified the game. Saints Row 2 continued this storytelling, and Saints Row: The Third abandoned this in favor of a more over-the-top, comedic storyline.

Each had their own place, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with every single one of them. Saints Row IV, though, is the epitome of what the series has been building up to. Bringing super powers and other assorted shenanigans into the mix, I can’t shake this feeling of the game being the long lost sequel to Crackdown.

And I’m perfectly content with that.

Saints Row IV review here

OXCGN’s Company of Heroes 2 Preview


OXCGN’s Company of Heroes 2 Preview

A damn cold strategy game

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

company of heroes 2 screenshots oxcgn #6Back in 2007, Relic under THQ released a World War Two RTS called Company of Heroes.

It took a very different approach to real-time strategy.

Instead of focusing on building as many units as quickly as possible and then rushing, Company of Heroes‘ approach incorporated RPG elements and placed emphasis on strategic placement of units.

Now under the banner of Sega, Company of Heroes 2 is nearly here, and we’ve had extensive hands-on time with the closed beta.

After experiencing nearly eight hours of gameplay, I have come to a single conclusion: it’s a damn cold strategy game.

Is this the future of strategy?

Call of Duty vs. Battlefield: How Gamers Ruin Both… and Gaming


Call of Duty vs. Battlefield: How Gamers Ruin Both… and Gaming

When competition ruins appreciation

by Michael Gilbert

© 2013 Michael Gilbert

BAttlefield-4-oxcgnAs gamers, we often come to establish what we think of a game based on our previous experiences.

This shooter is realistic because head shots kill people in one shot, this racer is awesome because my Camaro sounds really loud (just like Dad’s—for those of us with dads that have Camaros), this Mario game is fun because it makes funny sounds and I laughed my ass off (LMFAO for you more apt readers).

We also make comparisons based on games we did or didn’t like before.

Halo is better than Quake because the graphics are better, or, for a more ignorant comparison, World of Warcraft is the worst game ever “’cuz only nerds play that game. YOLO. Swagg.”

But what we fail to do is recognize the smaller accomplishments that actually construct a game’s ‘personality’, as I like to call it.

Something that comparing a game to another simply just can’t do.

Is competition ruining modern gaming?

OXCGN’s BioShock Infinite Review


OXCGN’s BioShock Infinite Review

Best game you’ll play this year

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

bioshock infinite coverIn 2007, the world was greeted with an interesting little game called BioShock, which brought us to the uniquely terrifying underwater utopia known as Rapture.

Immediately, the game achieved commercial and critical success due to its powerful storytelling, unique gameplay and locale, and overall excellence.

In 2010, we received BioShock 2, a solid yet not quite incredible sequel made by a different team.

Many moons later, we have the next game from Irrational Games, the people behind the original title, this time taking place in the air and called BioShock Infinite.

In short, this game is the best game you’ll play this year.

Bioshock review here

Battlefield 4 Gameplay Premiere: Is This The Next Gen of Warfare?


Battlefield 4 Gameplay Premiere

Is this the next gen of warfare?

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

battlefield 4Battlefield 3 has been one of my absolute favorite shooters this gen, and EA has enjoyed great success because of its success.

Recently, a sequel has been teased via artwork and a website, leading up to now.

Finally, EA has delivered a whopping seventeen minute video on Battlefield 4... but is this truly the next generation of warfare?

Battlefield 4 premiere

Thief 1 vs. 2. vs. 3 vs. 4 Screenshot Comparison

FEATURE_Thief screenshot comparison

Thief 1 vs. 2 vs. 3 vs. 4 Screenshot Comparison

A look back and forward

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

thief 4 screenshots oxcgn #8The gaming world collectively freaked out earlier this month when the fourth Thief title was announced after a very, very long wait.

Eidos Montreal, the talented team behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution, will be handling the game, and it couldn’t be in better hands.

Considering the age of the series (the first title, Thief: The Dark Project, released in 1998), I thought it was time to do a screenshot comparison to showcase the giant leaps in visual fidelity that the series has seen since its initial release many moons ago.

Below, you will find screenshots ordered from left to right, with the oldest ones on the left. The order is as follows: Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age on the first rows, and Thief: Deadly Shadows and Thief 4 beneath.

Note that Thief: Deadly Shadows and the newest Thief title do not have numbers in their titles, but I referred to them as 3 and 4 respectively for continuity.

See how Thief has aged!