Microsoft

Planet Coaster (Xbox Series X)

It’s odd to think menu music makes an impact on a game, but Planet Coaster’s mellow guitar strings and exited kid’s choir feels right. Planet Coaster is a simulation about happy places, and that catchy, hummable tune sticks in the brain even when amid the ambient shrieks, cheers, and mechanical whirring inside the parks. Tone… Continue reading Planet Coaster (Xbox Series X)

Sony

Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4)

Originated in the early ’80s, the term cyberpunk (and resulting genre) rooted itself in anti-Japanese phobia, arriving in mainstream fiction as Japan became a technology-centric export economy. Cyberpunk 2077 looks the part, as does most cyberpunk. The neon signs, the noodle vendors, skyscrapers. A murder mystery too, revolving around a vicious generational divide and rebellious… Continue reading Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4)

Sony

Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5)

Spider-Man’s Peter Parker fought alongside the police. Miles Morales fights against them, or, is rejected when entering a battle. Morales lives and fights in Brooklyn. It’s a different New York. Culture breathes compared to Parker’s more static, Hollywood-ish good white guy approach. As an immigrant, Morales is an immediate underdog. Still righteous, but from a… Continue reading Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5)

Sony

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War (PS5)

Ronald Reagan’s first appearance in Cold War makes the former President appear worthy of sainthood. It’s a dramatic, postured moment for the man staged as someone standing up to the Iron Curtain, dramatically stopping nukes, and taking down that wall. Mostly though, it’s a conspiratorial grab bag, more illusory than Oliver Stone, if avoiding a… Continue reading Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War (PS5)

Sony

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (PS4)

Journeying from their home to new lands in England, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s viking tribe comes near the shore, noticing crucifixes adorning churches. It’s hilarious to them – a religion that celebrates not only a defeat, but symbolizes the torture device that killed the Christian’s prophet. It’s a clever way to sell Viking beliefs and culture,… Continue reading Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (PS4)

Sony

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues (PS4)

Cobra Kai’s joke – the show’s joke – is that two 50-year-old men can’t let their feud over a high school karate tournament go. No one else cares, because it’s stupid, masculine posturing. Whether by choice or by budget restraints (the latter, most likely), Cobra Kai’s game spin-off nails that nuance. As the dueling karate… Continue reading Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues (PS4)