The 2017 Olives

Every gaming site worth its salt needs an annual awards show, and since I actually played games that came out last year (for once), I would like to cordially welcome you to the first-ever Olive Awards!

Now, you may notice that there are some oddities.  First off, some of the traditional categories like “Best Exclusive” or “Best Action/Adventure Game” are missing.  The short reason?  My show, my rules.  The longer reason?  Some of the categories simply aren’t what I consider to be particularly interesting.  Plus, in a lot of cases, I only got a chance to play one or two games in a given genre this year; not much of a contest if there’s literally only one competitor, right?

Another difference is that many categories have multiple winners.  This is simply because I suck at making decisions, and I’d rather acknowledge a selection of outstanding examples in a particular category than try to choose an ultimate winner.  Besides, that sort of thing just tends to piss people off, so why bother?

Lastly, if the selection of games being discussed seems limited, it’s because I’m only talking about games that I played this year.  Many of them I covered, though there are some exceptions.  Regardless, let me just say that yes, Cuphead is bloody beautiful; yes, Super Mario Odyssey looks really freaking fun; and yes, Divinity Original Sin 2 seems like the kind of game that I could lose myself in for days.  Happy?  Let’s hope so, because the show starts now!

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 5: Don’t Stop Believin’ Review

To call Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy series a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. Unfortunately, rather than playing with emotions and tugging at heartstrings like many of their other titles, Guardians has regularly flipped between being pretty good and painfully average. Of course, that places even more pressure on the final episode to not fall into the traps of mediocrity that have plagued the series. The question is: is that even possible at this point?

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 3: More Than a Feeling Review

The Guardians are back once again with a new chapter of their adventures. After their painfully average first outing, things were starting to look up in episode two. The story began to branch out, the choices were more thought-provoking, and the characters, well, had more character. Sadly, this uphill trend doesn’t seem to have carried over into episode three, which ends up suffering from several of the same issues that plagued the first episode.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 2: Under Pressure Review (Cubed3)

The titular Guardians aren’t the only thing under pressure in the second episode of the ongoing point-and-click adventure series. Following a painfully average first outing, Under Pressure is tasked not only with continuing the established story, but also with giving players a reason to care. Featuring new characters and locales alongside some far more dramatic emotional beats, is there enough here to help the series claw its way out from mediocrity?

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue Review (Cubed3)

Telltale Games cut their point-and-click teeth on comedy, with Sam & Max and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People becoming early breakout hits. As time went on, though, they headed in a more drama-focused direction, with the most publicized catalyst being the first season of The Walking Dead. Its focus on life-changing decisions made under tight time constraints created an emotional rollercoaster of an experience, with a plethora of scenarios whose outcomes were a far cry from black and white.

With this pedigree behind it, Guardians of the Galaxy: Tangled Up in Blue feels like a huge step back. That’s not to say that it’s a wholly worthless experience, but it feels like a game that largely ignores the developments made by its predecessors.