The Roundup: The Circle & Beyond

by Lucy Ungaro

This week, you guessed it: it’s Fallout 4 mania! Half of the pieces I’ll be sharing from the Circle will be Fallout 4 related because, well, Fallout 4. Do we need another reason? Rise of the Tomb Raider takes up the rest of the Circle news–two great games, one week! My promised Life is Strange Episode 5 review is up. Check it out here

First, let’s temper our excitement for Fallout 4 a little bit. Harold Goldberg says that while the game is great and rife with stories, what holds it back from “approaching perfection” is its beginning. In the article, he holds the game’s intro to the same standard he does movie intros. Game stories need this–they are so often held to the standard of what is good “for a game”, when they should just be judged based on whether the story is good, period. If you’re not afraid of a spoiler about the beginning of the game, read the article to find out what exactly the problem is.

Jeff Bakalar writes about Fallout 4 from the perspective of someone whose idea of “videogames” was revolutionized by Fallout 3. This is an important perspective, because Fallout 3 is the most beloved of its series and explains the continued excitement for this latest installment, so we have to know–does Fallout 4 live up to the glory of its predecessor? Find out here.

Fallout 4′s focus might have shifted a little, says Matt Gerardi. It’s still the series you knew, just with more companionship, and, perhaps, less loneliness. However, while the characters have been imbued with much more personality than you’ve seen in a Fallout or even Bethesda game before, it comes at a small and acceptable loss of personality in the world itself. Check out Matt Gerardi’s thoughts here.

Now for some fun Fallout 4 extras: watch Jorge Jimenez play through an early portion of the game. Also, some may agree that character customization has become one of the best parts of playing a new RPG.

OK, that’s all the Fallout 4 news I have for you this week. Luckily, another major franchise has produced a new edition, and it receives a glowing review from Chelsea Stark. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, it seems like Lara’s character has finally been done right–as a person, as a woman, and as a raider of tombs. I think we can all agree when I say “finally”.

Jordan Minor also has a lot of positive remarks regarding the latest Tomb Raider, though he claims the game isn’t afraid of being cheesy at times. For a comparison between Rise of the Tomb Raider and its praised predecessor–what’s changed and what’s improved–check out this review 

If you want to see gameplay, here’s a video of Evan Narcisse raiding some tombs.

And now for news outside of the Circle…

According to Luke Plunkett of Kotaku, video games more and more often have some form of card mini-game as extra content. This is something I’ve noticed without actively noticing it, and it’s also really interesting since, as he says, video games were what put card games out of style in the first place. Read the article here.

A video game museum is opening in San Francisco this December. You can read about it here. I’m not sure if we have a museum like that in New York, even though the museum is claiming that it’s the only one of its kind. If that’s true, I’m incredibly jealous.

Here’s a positive article: apparently, the feminist movement in video games has been making progress, despite the misogyny that still exists.

That’s all for this week. For more video game (and, undoubtedly, Fallout 4) news, come back next week! 

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