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Review Round Up

Reviews In Review: Watch Dogs, Monochroma, Wolf Among Us

Jun 01 // Ben Pack
World End Economica Episode 1 (PC)Developer: Spicy TailsPublisher: Sekai ProjectRelease: May 5, 2014MRSP: $12.99 World End Economica has so much going for it: an interesting premise, a protagonist with an actual design and personality (even if it is a little rotten) and the opportunity to capitalize on a business rarely (if ever) explored in video games: stock trading. Unfortunately, it squanders the opportunity to capitalize on these great bullet points and winds up a generic, muddled mess of pacing issues, bland dialogue, and characters too difficult to connect with. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full World End Economica Episode 1 review  Watch Dogs (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: May 27, 2014 / TBA 2014 (Wii U)MRSP: $59.99 Despite the fact that Watch Dogs hasn't made any meaningful impact on the genre, I found myself having a ton of fun with it. Between the deep levels of customization and the sheer breadth of content, there's no shortage of things to do. If Ubisoft can take the game's core fun factor and marry it with an actual "next-gen" experience the next time around, they'll have something truly special. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Watch Dogs review The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease: May 27, 2014 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) / TBA (iOS)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Having said that, Wolf Among Us continues to wow me with all of the details therein. From the Little Old Lady who lived in a shoe in a random painting to Curds and Whey in a jar, there's lots of lore building, and all it makes me want to do is read the comics proper. While The Walking Dead always feels like more of a micro-tale with each individual group, Wolf Among Us feels like something greater, and bigger than Telltale -- and that's a good thing. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing review Monochroma (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Nowhere StudiosPublisher: Nowhere StudiosReleased: May 28, 2014MSRP: $19.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit The narrative itself is generally engaging overall, but it suffers from a few holes. Aside from being told that the little brother is in fact the protagonist's little brother, the player is given no intrinsic reason to want to help him, and in fact, the player can grow to resent the character. Otherwise, there is not a good reason given that the two brothers decide to walk to the city and infiltrate a corporation instead of staying home and calling for medical help. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full Monochroma review Worms Battlegrounds (PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Team17Publisher: Team17Released: May 27, 2014MSRP: $24.99 Like most Worms games, you'll need other people to play with or risk monotony. Enemy AI still isn't the sharpest tool in the shed even this far in the game, and they can take far too long between turns, leading to boredom. Given the price tag of $25, it's perfect for those of you who haven't played a Worms game in years and have the itch. But if you've been playing along for the past few years, you might be able to skip this slightly upgraded collective of recent entries -- unless you're a fanatic, of course. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Worms Battlegrounds review  
REVIEWS! photo
Plus World End Economica
Reviewer? I hardly know her! This week's reviews in review goes out to Steven Hansen. Check out the video and all the reviews below.

Reviews In Review: Wolfenstein The New Order, Transistor, Drakengard 3

May 24 // Ben Pack
Kero Blaster (PC [reviewed], iPhone)Developer: Studio PixelPublisher: PlayismReleased: May 11, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (PC) $4.99 (iPhone) If Cave Story was Amaya's answer to Super Metroid, Kero Blaster is his Mega Man X. It's dense and perfectly paced, just begging to be replayed over and over. If I were to have to introduce someone to the genre of 2D action/platformers, it is probably the game that I'd give them, as it starts off easy-yet-engaging, and ends with giant bosses, swarms of enemies on screen, and everything else you could want in the genre. It's a game you may beat in a day, but will be playing off and on for a lifetime.  Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Kero Blaster review Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: Renegade KidPublisher: Renegade KidReleased: May 15, 2014MRSP: $8.99 It's really difficult to give Moon Chronicles a strong appraisal one way or the other. It's far from a stellar experience, but isn't a bad one either. There just isn't anything here that hasn't been done better elsewhere, and I can't see anyone other than FPS-starved 3DS owners or hardcore fans of the original being too interested. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 review Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: MachineGamesPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 In many ways, Wolfenstein: The New Order is "First-Person Shooters: The Game," but it gets most of the important details right. It's still weird to me seeing Wolf games developed over and over by new devs, but MachineGames did a great job adapting the franchise in its own way. With a few tweaks, the next iteration could be something truly special. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Wolfenstein: The New Order review Drakengard 3 (PS3)Developer: Access GamesPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 It's not too challenge of a game all things considered, because the difficulty curve is meticulously designed to not overwhelm or frustrate players. It's well made to the point where you won't feel like everything is too easy, and if you really need that extra edge to overcome a certain task, you can go back and level-up with sidequests. If you want to do everything you'll probably find yourself around a 100-hour completion rate, but the story is roughly at the 40-hour mark. Drakengard 3 is a bit unconventional at times (like its developer) with tales of extreme hair cutting and dragon piss, but action fans will want to seek this one out immediately. Within 15 minutes I was drawn into its world and its cast of characters, and I wanted to see Zero's journey through from start to finish. If you like games like Nier, you'll loveDrakengard 3. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Drakengard 3 review Transistor (PS4, PC [reviewed])Developer: Supergiant GamesPublisher: Supergiant GamesRelease: May 20, 2014MRSP: $19.99 / £14.99 While Transistor initially feels like a whole new game, structurally it sticks closely toBastion. Both games feature a beautiful but abandoned city that has undergone huge tragedy. In Bastion it was called the Calamity; in Transistor, it's dubbed The Process. Both feature areas where the player can rest and take stock; Red finds special doors which take her to a deserted island where challenge rooms are located (much like the Proving Grounds in Bastion). If the game isn't sufficiently challenging, Limiters can be installed that will make things harder for Red but at the benefit of gaining extra XP or other bonuses. These can be installed like Functions, swapped in and out at access points, but work the same way as the Idols in Bastion.  Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Transistor review R-Type Dimensions (PS3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Irem, Tozai GamesPublisher: Tozai GamesReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $9.99 If you have any fondness for the series, or if you're just looking for a solid side-scrolling shooter that's about as hard as can be, R-Type Dimensions faithfully re-creates the original experience and before long you'll be wondering why you did this to yourself. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full R-Type Dimensions review  
REVIEWS! photo
And more!
Look, E3 is coming up soon and that means we're about to get super excited about games. Let's take a minute and be thankful for the games we have right now, ok?

Reviews in Review: Mario Kart 8, Super Time Force and more!

May 17 // Ben Pack
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 1Publisher: NintendoRelease Date: May 30, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Mario Kart 8 is my favorite series entry since Double Dash, and if it gets arena battle tracks at some point by way of DLC, it will be a near-perfect package. Its vibrant visuals will hold up for years to come, ensuring that the game will withstand the test of time, and it will be a staple in my household for a long, long while. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Mario Kart 8 review Ether One (PC)Developer: White Paper GamesPublisher: White Paper GamesReleased: March 25, 2014MRSP: $19.99 Ether One nails its puzzles, atmosphere, and sound (ambient and voice acting). It also nails its story -- whether or not you decide to fully unravel its world and its mysteries -- culminating in a, well, refreshing, smart finale that will stay on my mind for years to come. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Ether One review The Walking Dead Season Two: In Harm's Way (iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease: May 14, 2014 (PC, PS3) / TBA (iOS, Vita, Xbox 360)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Episode three was probably my favorite from season one of The Walking Dead -- so far, I'm feeling the same way about In Harm's Way. Based on the preview the next tale seems to be a buffer of sorts before an explosive end, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how Clementine's journey ends. You hooked me yet again, Telltale. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full The Walking Dead Season Two: In Harm's Way review Super Time Force (Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Capybara GamesPublisher: Capybara GamesRelease date: May 14, 2014MSRP: $14.99 All told, Super Time Force is a satisfying run-and-gun game made even better with a fun (and funny!) take on time travel. It's as enjoyable to play as it is to look at. You'll likely be able to burn through the game in a few hours if you're not going for full completion, but it has such a winning personality that you'll find yourself coming back for more. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Super Time Force  review Demon Gaze (PS Vita)Developer: Kadokawa GamesPublisher: NIS America Released: April, 2014MRSP: $39.99 You'll have to have plenty of patience and a pretty good imagination to get the most out of Demon Gaze. The dungeon crawling is great and the NPC interactions outside of the dungeons are fun, but it's insanely challenging (even on the easiest setting) and the high level of repetition and mostly static presentation could get to you after some time. And you'll also have to be okay with the game's many horny NPC situations as they didn't skimp on the fan service. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Demon Gaze  review Cloudbuilt (PC)Developer: CoilworksPublisher: Rising Star GamesReleased: March 20, 2014MRSP: $19.99 Cloudbuilt is frustrating. It's frustrating to play and frustrating to recommend. I like the style, I like the parkour mechanics overall, but there's a lot of junk to contend with. The antagonistic design (minefields everywhere) is one thing, but the unforgiving checkpoints and limited lives lead to a lot of repetition. Meanwhile, the combat ends up about as unsatisfying as Mirror's Edge, with worse enemies that either absorb too many bullets or deflect them with shields anyway. If you want something that is going to fight you every step of the way as you shave seconds off of run times (and you have a strong pinky finger), this is for you. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Cloudbuilt  review JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle (PS3)Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Bandai Namco GamesRelease Date: April 29, 2014MSRP: $49.99 Overall, despite its shortcomings, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is a colorful spectacle that both fans of the anime and future fans of the anime will want to pick up and experience, even if just to watch a man use only his upper body strength after hopping off his horse to hold his own in combat. It's funky, gorgeous, and oozing with style. And where it comes up short, it simultaneously delivers in terms of fanservice and content. You won't be putting it down for quite some time, unless, you know, you need some time to eat a few more breads in your life. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle review
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Plus The Walking Dead, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Hey, what are you doing here! There's a ton of good games that came out this week! No wait, come back and watch this video for a couple of minutes, read the article, then you can go play those games.

Reviews in Review: Sportsfriends, Amazing Spider-Man 2

May 12 // Ben Pack
Bound By Flame (PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360)Developer: SpidersPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveRelease Date: May 9, 2014MSRP: $39.99 The game is actually on your side when it comes to whipping your character into shape, too, as if to compensate for dim AI and the repetitive grind that some may not find as rewarding as I did. There's plenty of loot scattered throughout the multiple winding passageways and easy-to-navigate dungeons, giving you numerous chances to craft new potions and other necessary items for use in battle. While gold isn't exactly in short supply, you'll still be faced with enough opportunities to make your own fortune rather than looking for your next payday. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Bound By Flame review Hitman GO (iOS)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: April 17, 2014MSRP: $4.99 Still, I was more than enamored with the numerous nods to classic Hitmanmoments, additional costumes, and the amount of polish lavished upon this bizarre yet savory addition to the Hitman universe. It's not perfect, and it certainly won't appeal to everyone, but if you're jonesing for your next taste of the life of an assassin, Hitman GO is the hippest way to emulate everyone's favorite sharp-dressed agent.  Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Hitman GO review Republique: Metamorphosis (iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 5], Mac, PC)Developer: Camouflaj, LoganPublisher: CamouflajReleased: April 30, 2014 (iOS) / PC (TBA)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) I had my doubts about the Republique project as a whole, but it's clear to me now after two episodes that Camouflaj "gets it." The studio is finding a way to improve upon the core tenets of the game while maintaining an episodic format, which many other developers don't tend to do. While I wouldn't recommend that everyone rush out and buy the Season Pass right now, I'm looking forward to seeing what the next episode brings to the table. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Republique: Metamorphosis review Sportsfriends (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Die Gute FabrikPublisher: Die Gute FabrikRelease Date: May 6, 2014MSRP: $14.99 Despite the fact that I don't think I'll be playing Barabariball or Super Pole Riders for very long, Hokra's level editor gives it legs, and Johann Sebastian Joust shouldn't be missed by anyone who enjoys having company over. It's a very uneven package in the sense that there could have either been a few more games and a few could have been better, but honestly -- $15 isn't a terrible price just for Joust alone. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Sportsfriends review Raiden IV: OverKill (PS3)Developer: MOSSPublisher: UFO Interactive GameReleased: April 29, 2014MSRP: $19.99 Raiden IV: OverKill could have used a few more extras, but the fact that you can get it cheaper than the Xbox 360 version when it launched (it's $20 now digitally as well) is a compelling reason for genre fans to pick this one up. While theRaiden series in general isn't my favorite collective of shmups, it's been a steady staple for over two decades for a reason. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Raiden IV: OverKill review The Elder Scrolls Online (Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: ZeniMax Online StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: April 4, 2014 (Mac, PC) / June 2014 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)MSRP: $59.99 ($14.99 subscription fee, with 30 days included in base game) I think right now, the most prudent thing to do is to wait for ZeniMax to iron out all of The Elder Scrolls Online's kinks (including how it handles post level 50 content to make it less grindy), and play the console version of the game. Not only will it arrive with all of the updates from the PC version in tow, but it'll also have full native controller support -- which feels more natural than a mouse and keyboard in this instance. Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full The Elder Scrolls Online review Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC [reviewed], Mac)Developer: Big Finish GamesPublisher: AtlusReleased: May 7, 2014MRSP: $19.99 / £14.99 The humor doesn't always work and the puzzle design is still rooted in the series' 1990s adventure game roots, meaning it feels archaic in spots, but there are some welcome concessions to modern design with the flashlight and hint system. Tex Murphy might be alive in 2014 but he'll need to learn a few more tricks if he's to stay around for another adventure.  Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure review  
Review recap photo
Plus Tesla Effect, Raiden IV: Overkill
Hey some dude in the comments said I should do this drunk so Max made me drink malt liquor. Anyway here are the reviews I reviewed last week (as well as a couple more that went up after the video).


Reviews in Review: Child of Light, Daylight, Kirby Triple Deluxe

May 04 // Ben Pack
LEGO The Hobbit (3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSVita, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One, WiiU)Developer: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Brothers InteractiveRelease Date: April 8, 2014MSRPP: $29.99 (3DS, Vita), $49.99 (PS3, Xbox 360, WiiU), $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One) Still, there is a good bit to like about the game as well. If you've enjoyed the many other LEGOadaptations, this one is not without it's charm. The characters and backgrounds match the films well, and the game follows the story of the movies very closely, down to the questionable bonus material padding. Though again, being a bit limited by the original voicework may not allow for the normal LEGO slaptick-type humor, and a few scenes of real tension and whimsy from the films seem to fall a bit flat. Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full LEGO The Hobbit review Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)Developer: HAL LaboratoryPublisher: NintendoReleased: May 2, 2014MSRP: $34.99 Kirby:Triple Deluxe is yet another winning entry in the franchise. It delivers the core Kirby experience alongside of a few very well done extras, which is pretty much everything a fan could ask for. While the Kirby formula could easily be getting stale for some, it still represents a whimsical corner of platforming games that's centered around one central ideal -- fun. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Kirby: Triple Deluxe review Child of Light (PS3, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: April 30, 2014 Child of Light will satiate pretty much everyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans, and even then, they'll find plenty of enjoyment. There are a few minor issues here and there that hold it back from instant-classic status that could be enhanced in a sequel or future work, but regardless, Child of Light is a noble effort from Ubisoft Montreal, and another win to put in the studio's diverse portfolio. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Child of Light review FRACT OSC [Mac, PC (reviewed)]Developer: Phosfiend SystemsPublisher: Phosfiend SystemsMSRP: $14.99Released: April 22, 2014 FRACT OSC is a game where you need to be willing to go in blind and just explore; this might be something that puts a player off within the first 10 minutes, as there's no tooltips or tutorial to tell them what to do, unlike most modern games. If you allow yourself to be drawn into the strange, geometric landscape and understand the structure of the puzzles and progression, then you'll be rewarded with a great experience. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full FRACT OSC review Life Goes On (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Infinite Monkeys EntertainmentPublisher: Infinite Monkeys EntertainmentReleased: April 17, 2014MSRP: $12.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Life Goes On might not start with the most mindblowing hook, but the idea is solid and Infinite Monkeys develops it well. By constantly adding new tricks into its repertoire and not dragging itself out unnecessarily, it maintains a good quality throughout. Puzzle difficulty ranges from easy to medium-hard; it rarely gets diabolically difficult, and when it does it is only when completing optional objectives. Although it is not particularly nice to look at, the underlying gameplay is worthwhile for any puzzle platformer enthusiast. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Life Goes On review Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Gearbox SoftwarePublisher: 2K GamesReleased: April 15, 2014MSRP: $2.99 As with the other entries in the Headhunter series, Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax is a short experience with a relatively low price tag. Although it does not complete Borderlands 2 with a bang, it does a decent job of rounding out the series and setting up for the next one. Those particularly interested in the path of the characters moving forward will enjoy what this DLC does toward that end, but most other Borderlands fans would be just as well waiting for the release of the Pre-Sequel this fall. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax review Daylight (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: Zombie StudiosPublisher: Zombie StudiosRelease: April 29, 2014MSRP: $14.99 Overall I felt as if Daylight was made as a jump-scare machine with a loosely tacked-on plot. I never felt invested in Sarah or cared much for the mysterious man rambling through her phone. In fact, I was more concerned with getting Miss Ghost off my back so she’d stop screaming, more so out of annoyance than fear. Daylight would have benefited from a fresh set of spooks rather than intermittent scares and muddy plot lines, but at the end of the day if you’re looking for a cheap thrill you've found it. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full Daylight review Destiny of Spirits (Vita)Developer: SCE Japan Studio, Q EntertainmentPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentMSRP: Free-to-play Released: March 25, 2014 As is the case with any free-to-play game, you really have nothing to lose but time by trying outDestiny of Spirits. It helps if you're a hardcore Sony fan and strive for some of the more unique characters, but otherwise the pace is far too slow, and the rewards are far too little for the amount of time you need to invest in it. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Destiny of Spirits review The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: BeenoxPublisher: ActivisionMSRP: $59.99Released: April 29, 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't a complete disaster, and I can easily see fans of Spidey enjoying it at a deep discount. It's just a shame that Beenox somehow got worse at makingSpider-Man games over time, and that the powers that be insist on rushing them as movie tie-ins. Somehow, someway -- we will get our Arkham of Spider-Man games again. Until then, you can just pick up a used copy of 2004's Spider-Man 2. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer:  Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixMSRP: $39.99 ($12.99 per month, with a free PS3-to-PS4 license transfer) Released: August 27, 2013 (PC, PS3) / April 14, 2014 (PS4) Despite those issues, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is my favorite MMO since World of Warcraft. It has a lot of things going for it, tons of content to explore, and best of all -- lots and lots of support. I have no doubt that the popularity of A Realm Reborn will continue to rise with every major update and expansion, and I wish Square Enix nothing but the best. I didn't think it was possible, but they have absolutely atoned for the original mess that was Final Fantasy XIV -- and then some. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn review
Reviews! photo
Plus LEGO The Hobbit & More
It's the end of the week which means that it's time for another episode of Reviews in Review. This week a TON of games came out, so if you missed any of our reviews just check out the video for a quick recap. Seriously, what else are you going to do for four minutes? This week I use some really bad accents.

Reviews in Review: FFXIV, Arkham Origins DLC & NES Remix 2

Apr 26 // Ben Pack
Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montréal / Splash DamagePublisher: Warner Bros.Released: April 22nd, 2014MSRP: $9.99 (part of the Season Pass) Cold, Cold Heart feels like a legitimate addition to the Arkham Origins lore, and not just a cheap cash-in. It's definitely a side story that's too big to be shoved into the core game, even if it doesn't really innovate in any meaningful way. While I wouldn't go out of my way to buy Arkham Origins just for it, I'd implore any current owner to take a look. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart review NES Remix 2 (Wii U)Developer: indieszeroPublisher: NintendoReleased: April 24, 2014MSRP: $14.99 This is something that I'm going to be playing for quite some time with friends every so often, comparing scores until the cows come home. I wish this mode was a bit more fleshed out overall though (two Mario games is a bit much), and I'd love to see it as a standard in future iterations of this franchise (SNES Remix, perhaps?). In other words, I wouldn't buy it just to play Championship mode, but it's enjoyable all the same. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full NES Remix 2 review. Disney Magical World (3DS)Developer: h.a.n.d.Publisher: NintendoReleased: April 11, 2014MSRP: $29.99 That's the theme of Magical World -- simplicity. There are no secret times you need to get to a club to hear a certain song, no special residents that will only grant you a rare item on a certain hour of a certain day (there is a clock, but its effects are mostly aesthetic). For those of you who like min/maxing turnip prices and the like, you won't scratch that same itch here. It's not like that's a bad thing in my book -- I think an increased amount of accessibility is great -- just be wary that it can affect the game's longevity. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Disney Magical World review Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)Developer: CamelotPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: May 2, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Mario Golf: World Tour's presentation is strong, especially when it comes to the varied characters and costumes. The course designs are colorful and exciting, and they're packed with little secrets to find. The low resolution of the shot grid is the only place where the presentation of World Tour lets you down. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Mario Golf: World Tour review  
Reviews recap photo
Review these Reviews in Review
Reviews in Review is back, and due to the fact that this is episode 2, it officially has lasted longer than that time Fox tried to bring back The Osbournes after it got cancelled.  Anyway, onto the reviews. This week I talked about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Hearts, NES Remix 2, and Disney Magical World. Check 'em out.

Reviews in Review: Steins;Gate, Half Minute Hero 2, Trials Fusion

Apr 19 // Ben Pack
Trials Fusion (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: RedLynx, UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftReleased: April 15, 2014 / April 24, 2014 (PC)MSRP: $19.99 / $39.99 physical release with Season Pass (Xbox One, PS4) Trials Fusion is a good game -- and I can only see it getting better over time as user-made levels excel and DLC is released -- but what's there now, at launch, is a step down from Trials Evolution. It's disheartening, then, to see the game come in at a higher price point than its predecessor and also try to sell users on a $19.99 Season Pass in-game right out of the gate. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Trials Fusion review. Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (PS Vita, 3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: AtlusReleased: April 15, 2014Price: $39.99 As the game progresses, the ritual scenes become a bit longer and naughtier. Toward the end of the game, when you've maxxed out the bonds with the girls, the scenes of baby making become even more horny. You'll see hands against walls, rears out, with girls wincing. Again, nothing is happening as far as contact is concerned, but depending on your tastes, these scenes could be offensive. I've been around the block a few times and have seen way worse. For me, these scenes were more silly than anything. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars review. Steins;Gate (PC)Developer: 5pb., Nitroplus Publisher: JAST USAReleased: March 31, 2014MSRP: $29.99 And things will indeed get intense. Steins;Gate is a taxing game, but it's also quite beautiful, from the talented Japanese voice cast (no English dub, unfortunately) to artist huke's unorthodox visuals. It's an exemplary visual novel with a thrilling premise, memorable characters, and a fantastic "true" ending that may very well move you to tears. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Steins;Gate review. Putty Squad (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Vita)Developer: System 3 SoftwarePublisher: System 3 SoftwareReleased: March 11, 2014MSRP: $29.99 You should only pick up Putty Squad if you're a fan of the original, and have an unhealthy affinity towards platformers. Everyone else need not apply unless the game drops to a rightful price of $10 or less. Verdict: 5/10 - Read the full Putty Squad review. Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC)Developer: Marvelous AQLPublisher: Marvelous AQLRelease: April 4, 2014MSRP: $19.99 Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming makes a number of improvements on an established formula. It's endearing, provocative, and silly. But it lacks variety and never quite recaptures the magic of its predecessor. No longer a breath a fresh air, The Second Coming settles for being an enjoyable lark. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming review.
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Review these Reviews in Review
"Reviews in Review" is a new show that releases every week where I will go over the reviews published this week on Destructoid, as well as give a score to the week in general. This week I talked about the reviews for Steins;...

The best and worst games of the week - A Bravely January

Feb 02 // Wesley Ruscher
The Banner Saga (Windows PC [reviewed], Mac, Linux)Developer: StoicPublisher: StoicRelease: January 14, 2014MSRP: $24.99 This game feels like a project created by artists. It's uncompromising to a fault. Tiptoeing its way around trite conventions and hackneyed design choices, I have no doubt that the team at Stoic created the game they wanted to make. By the end of the journey, I cared for my banner like a shepherd tending to his flock. I commiserated with their hardships, as the thread of despondency wove its way throughout virtually every aspect of the experience. Read the full The Banner Saga review  Nidhogg (PC)Developer: MesshofPublisher: MesshofMSRP: $14.99Release Date: January 13, 2014 Nidhogg is a perfect game wrapped in a not-so-perfect package. When playing locally against another human, it is the epitome of competition. Playing online is a mixed bag of lag, disconnects, and a weird chat system. Hopefully some of the bugs get ironed out over time, especially whatever stopped the tutorial from functioning, to make everything more functional as a whole. Read the full Nidhogg review  Muramasa Rebirth: Fishy Tales of the Nekomata (PlayStation Vita)Developer: MarvelousAQLPublisher: Aksys GamesReleased: January 14, 2014 (US) / January 22, 2014 (EU)MSRP: $4.99 I heartily enjoyed my time as a cat in Muramasa Rebirth, and I can't wait to see what the other DLC stories can do. Vanillaware ingeniously was able to tie the heart of the game into its first Genroku Legends side story, while giving it a fine heart of its own. It's so well done in fact, that I could easily see a full game starring Okoi one day. Read the full Fishy Tales of the Nekomata review  Two Brothers (PC)Developer: Ackk StudiosPublisher: Ackk StudiosReleased: December 3, 2013MSRP: $14.99 It's very much the type of game you play for the story, which has flashes of brilliance that can only be effectively realized in an interactive medium such as this. Unfortunately, it's tied to lackluster mechanics, technical problems, and a disappointing lack of polish. Two Brothers may not be an overall success, but its best moments are worth experiencing first-hand. Read the full Two Brothers review  Continue?9876543210 (Linux, Mac, PC[reviewed])Developer: Jason OdaPublisher: Jason OdaMSRP: $9.99Release Date: January 3, 2014  Continue?9876543210 truly does feel like a personal and emotional experience: someone else’spersonal and emotional experience. It did not connect to me the way it was seemingly intended to. Good “experience” games either have super simple controls so that the player never has to think about them, or the controls and mechanics tie directly into the game’s central themes. Continue?9876543210 does neither. Read the full Continue?9876543210 review  OlliOlli (PS Vita)Developer: Roll7Publisher: Roll7Release Date: January 27, 2014MSRP: $12.99 There's a lot to love about OlliOlli. The game is in the sweetspot of "simple to control" and "just difficult enough" to keep you playing without tearing your hair out. The Daily Grind and Spots challenges will keep the score-centric crowd happy, and Career mode will have you blistering your thumbs as you try to perfect each level. A masterpiece. Read the full OlliOlli review  Broken Age: Act 1 (PC)Developer: Double Fine ProductionsPublisher: Double Fine ProductionsRelease Date: January 14, 2014 (for backers) / January 28, 2014MSRP: $24.99 (with free update for Act 2) I haven’t felt this surge of nostalgia and excitement about a game in a long time, and I truly thinkBroken Age will be looked back fondly as one of the greats. That being said, the first Act is only a few short hours and ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger with no word on how long we’ll be waiting for the rest of the game. In some ways I feel cheated, but in the end it’s the heart of the game that matters - and that certainly isn't broken. Read the full Broken Age: Act 1 review  Dead Rising 3: Operation Broken Eagle (Xbox One)Developer: Capcom VancouverPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: January 21, 2014MSRP: $9.99 As it stands, there is literally no reason to get Broken Eagle. It's criminally short, you can't enjoy it with a friend, there are no real benefits if your character is maxed out from already playing the core game, and it doesn't add to the overarching lore in any meaningful way. Hopefully the other Season Pass offerings will be an improvement, since we still have three to go. Read the full Operation Broken Eagle review  Soul Fjord (Ouya)Developer: Airtight GamesPublisher: Airtight GamesRelease: January 28, 2014MSRP: Free, with microtransactions Soul Fjord started with a good idea, and even has a few redeeming qualities, but in the end, it is just too dull to be enjoyable for longer than a few minutes. The free-to-play aspects don't ruin the experience, but they don't particularly help it either. If nothing else, Ouya owners should probably give this a try since it costs nothing upfront, but this is not the system savior that we have been hoping for. Read the full Soul Fjord review Bravely Default (3DS)Developer: Silicon StudioPublisher: Square EnixRelease: February 7, 2014MSRP: $39.99 Bravely Default gave me an experience that seemed to put me right back in my bedroom in the middle 1990s, where I'd sit in front of a small Hitachi television set and play the day away with a Super Nintendo controller in hand, so engrossed that I'd forget to eat. It harkens back to a time where we were all in love 16-bit Japanese role-playing games, and couldn't get enough of them. Read the full Bravely Default review Call of Duty: Ghosts: Onslaught DLC (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Infinity WardPublisher: ActivisionReleased: January 28, 2014 (Xbox 360, Xbox One) / TBA (PC, PS3, PS4)MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) I was pleasantly surprised by Onslaught, especially considering the fact that Ghosts was so underwhelming. Although it won't do too much to change your mind if you're an adamant Call of Duty hater, the new Extinction episode is promising, and there are three solid maps here for the taking. Read the full Onslaught review  Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: Young Horses, Inc.Publisher: Young Horses, Inc.Release: January 30, 2014 (Linux, Mac, PC), March 2014 (PlayStation 4)MSRP: $14.99 ($11.99 until February 6)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit n the end, I would not be surprised to hear that the Octodad community is thriving years down the road. It exudes a certain weirdness and charm that makes it stand out from a lot of other titles out there, and there are tools in place for it to live on past the point when the credits start to roll. Though it has some issues with framerate drops and its approach to control is definitely not for everybody, Dadliest Catch kept a smile on my face for most of its duration. Read the full Octodad: Dadliest Catch review Dungeon Keeper (Android, iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5])Developer: Electronic Arts, Mythic EntertainmentPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: January 31, 2014MSRP: Free It's a huge shame, because Dungeon Keeper is such a great franchise. I vividly remember getting hooked on the original for the very first time, and hooking in non-strategy fans with its unique perspective and visual style. But you're getting none of that here, as you're instead presented with a hollow freemium shell of what once was. Do yourself a favor and go to GOG.com and grab the original. Read the full Dungeon Keeper review Polk N1 Gaming SurroundBar
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Week ending 2/1
January has come and gone, but that doesn't mean there weren't some great games to play. Just look at all the amazing "indie" games that hit the PC this month. We had the fruition of two KickStarter campaigns finally see the ...

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Reviews!!!

The best and worst games of the week - New year new games


Week ending 1/11
Jan 12
// Wesley Ruscher
It's January and that means it's time to catch up on all the hot new video games we found tucked underneath our Christmas trees last year. For us at Destructioid that also means catching up on some reviews too. So without further adieu here is the best and worst games of the week... well actually of the month so far. I had a little catching up to do myself.

The best and worst games of the week - Just say Yes to Ys

Dec 14 // Wesley Ruscher
Assassin's Creed: Pirates (Android, iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5])Developer: Ubisoft ParisPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: December 5, 2013MSRP: $4.99 Assassin's Creed: Pirates is a very silly game, but it's a great distraction if you're left wanting more after Black Flag. With a host of content, tons of customization and fast-paced combat, there's hardly a dull moment in Pirates. The fact that there's no money-grubbing microtransactions to ruin the experience is the cherry on top. Read the full Assassin's Creed: Pirates review Peggle 2 (Xbox One [reviewed], other platforms TBA)Developer: PopCap GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease Date: December 9, 2013MSRP: $11.99 Peggle 2 is ultimately the same basic concept as the original set of games, but it's still most definitely worth playing if you're a series fan. PopCap could have done so much more than they did, especially when you consider the generational leap, but the good news is Peggle fans will eat this up and fall in love all over again. Read the full Peggle 2 review Doki-Doki Universe (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: HumaNature StudiosPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment AmericaRelease Date: December 10, 2013MSRP: $14.99 (Cross-Buy across all platforms) Doki-Doki Universe is a very odd, very cute, and very simple game. There isn't a whole lot to it, so don't go in expecting a deep and rewarding adventure title. So long as you don't mind spending an afternoon helping a tiny snowman bond with his father, Doki-Doki will be more than adequate. Read the full Doki-Doki Universe review Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: ThreaksPublisher: Reverb PublishingReleased: August 6, 2013MSRP: $14.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Despite the praise for BeatBuddy's incredible art and sound direction, the title as a whole does not stand out as a must-play experience otherwise. The foundation for a great game is built here, but the gameplay ranges from passable to dull. Though it is never an overtly bad experience, the gameplay lacks any truly enthralling aspect to propel the player through. With a forgettable narrative, the only thing that really shines here is how BeatBuddy takes a song and really plays with it, both musically and physically within the environments. For some, that may be enough. Read the full Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians review Samurai Gunn (Mac, PC [reviewed], PS4, Vita)Developer: TeknopantsPublisher: MaxistentialismReleased: December 10, 2013 (PC) / TBA 2014 (Mac, PS4, Vita)MSRP: $14.99 ($11.99 until December 17th) Samurai Gunn will no doubt have a more limited audience due to a lack of modes, but for those of you who appreciate a deep fighting game, you'll get hours of competitive entertainment out of it. Every time I play it I feel like I've mastered a new piece of the physics engine, or a new nuance to wall-jumping. It's one of those games that keeps on giving years later due to a solid foundation, so long as you have the company to enjoy it with. Read the full Samurai Gunn review Ys: Memories of Celceta (Vita)Developer: FalcomPublisher: XseedRelease Date: November 26, 2013MSRP: $39.99 ($59.99 Silver Anniversary Edition) Falcom’s decision to take ownership of this entry, to create a more cohesive narrative amongst the series, has once again delivered one of the finest experiences for both the series and the platform it’s landed on. Ys: Memories of Celceta is not a system seller, but it’s a game worthy of buying if you own a Vita and easily one of the best RPGs of the year. Read the full Ys: Memories of Celceta review X Rebirth (PC)Developer: EgosoftPublisher: EgosoftReleased: November 15, 2013MSRP: $49.99 X Rebirth might be worth grabbing in a Steam sale in a couple of years, after 100 patches and with a dozens of mods that create an entirely different game. That game could be fun if you are into modding. As it is right now at launch, X Rebirth is simply a broken, flawed, and almost unplayable mess. It's a shell that has potential, but it's not a working game on its own. Stay far away from it for now, and maybe in a few years it could be worth the time of dedicated fans. Read the full X Rebirth review Razer Kraken Forged Edition headphones Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro headphones SteelSeries H Wireless Headset Roxio Game Capture HD Pro
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Review Round-up: Week ending 12/14
On the second week of December Destructoid's reviews brought me, one sweet RPG called Ys. Okay, that's about as far as I'm going with turning this weeks review round-up into some sort of Christmas jingle. But feel free to kee...

The best and worst games of the week - Racing Royalty

Dec 07 // Wesley Ruscher
Senran Kagura Burst (3DS eShop)Developer: Marvelous AQLPublisher: XSEED GamesRelease Date: November 14, 2013MSRP: $29.99 Senran Kagura Burst has a lot going for it. It's often times quite charming, the 2D illustrations are very well done, the almost-all girl world they exist in offers a nice fantasy for those that are sick of the male-dominated game industry, combos are fun to pull off despite their simplicity, and the character designs are pretty expressive (sexually and otherwise). All that is held back by the fact that the low-budget graphics, distracting breast-obsession, and overall lack of actual game design. There's potential for this series to be more than sex and combos, but so far, that's all it has going for it. It's cheap, sweet candy with little nutritional value that might make you sick after a while.  Read the full Senran Kagura Burst review Desktop Dungeons (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: QCF DesignPublisher: QCF DesignReleased: November 7, 2013MSRP: $14.99 All in all, the full release of Desktop Dungeons is great. QCF Design had a fantastic core game built years ago, and it holds up today, especially with the added bells and whistles. Despite its generic title, there really is nothing else like the dungeon-puzzling found here. Rather than being satisfied with the simple, unique game that it was, the developers went above and beyond adding polish, resulting in a game that is truly remarkable. Read the full Desktop Dungeons review Rainblood Chronicles: Mirage (PC)Developer: S-GamePublisher: OR1GO GamesRelease Date: November 11, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Rain Blood Chronicles: Mirage probably isn't going to stick with you as a cherished experience, but it's a competently designed combo slasher with a fair bit going for it. Players who like their 2D hack n' slash combat fast and accurate should be satisfied. Read the full Rain Blood Chronicles: Mirage review Tiny Brains (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Spearhead GamesPublisher: 505 GamesRelease Date: December 3, 2013 (PS4) / TBA (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)MSRP: $19.99 Although its core campaign is far too short, the game is a blast with other players, and the wide variety of challenges should keep you playing for hours. Despite the fact that my time with these tiny adora-creepy critters was rather brief, I'd love to see them again in a sequel someday. Read the full Tiny Brains review FORCED (PC [reviewed], Mac, Linux)Developer: BetaDwarfPublisher: BetaDwarfRelease Date: October 24, 2013MSRP: $14.99 FORCED isn't the biggest game on the PC, but it's not trying to be. Rather, it tries to be a fun co-op experience -- a goal that it accomplishes quite well. Grab the four-pack off Steam, grab three friends, and play FORCED for the weekend. It's a one-trick pony, but it's a good trick indeed. Read the full FORCED review Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers (PS3, available through PSN only)Developer: DimpsPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease Date: November 26, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is a decent tribute to anime series that never caught much attention this side of the Pacific. The fighting is pretty looking, but very barebones; the music is catchy, but repetitive; and all the extra modes while solid, don’t do much to make this title truly stand out. Fans of the Naruto: Shippuden and the Dragon Ball Z fighters will feel unfulfilled, but for loyalists of Saint Seiya, Brave Soldiers offers just enough fanfare to make this worth the time. Read the full Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers review Gran Turismo 6 (PS3)Developer: Polyphony DigitalPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease Date: December 6, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Gran Turismo 6 isn't perfect, but it's still the best videogame out there for driving enthusiasts. It's what Gran Turismo 5 should have been. It needs work in the AI and damage modeling departments, and that next-gen visual upgrade can't come soon enough. Still, GT6 is a game that I expect I'll happily play for years to come, or at least until Polyphony Digital brings the next one out. Its charms run so deep that I’m just as happy chugging around the track at 86 MPH in a family van as I would be in the most expensive exotic racer.  Read the full Gran Turismo 6 review Killer Instinct Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 Feenix 2014 Nascita Gaming Mouse
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Review Round-up: Week ending 12/7
Oh December! You are by far my favorite month of the year, and not just because it's Christmas and my birthday. Your winter slumber in the games department allows me the leisure of checking my backlog list twice and knocking ...

The best and worst games of the week - Game of the Month

Nov 30 // Wesley Ruscher
Previous November Round-ups: Week ending 11/23Week ending 11/16Week ending 11/9  Stick It to the Man! (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Zoink!Publisher: RipstoneRelease Date: November 19, 2013 (PS3), Early December (Vita)MSRP: $12.99 (with Cross-Buy) I enjoyed the ever-loving crap out of this game. From the cast of zany characters -- many of whom you may think are throwaways only for them to show up again in later levels -- to the crazy art style, level and puzzle design, and whimsically hilarious script. Everything is pitch-perfect. And while Stick It to the Man! isn't a particularly long title (it may only take you between three to five hours to complete the game's ten chapters) there's loads to observe and listen in on, and dozens of minds per level to explore, leaving you wanting more. I couldn't get enough of it. Read the full Stick It to the Man! review Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! (3DS [reviewed] PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)Developer: WayForward TechnologiesPublisher: D3 PublisherRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $29.99 (3DS), $39.99 (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360) At some point during the development process of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon 3DS, someone should have looked at the current build, and scrapped the project entirely. Whereas Regular Show 3DS was a flawed love letter to retro fans, Explore the Dungeon is a sheet of paper with chicken scratch scrawled on it. It's the worst game WayForward has put out in years, and yet another example of a wasted licensed game opportunity. Read the full Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon review Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 2: The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Gearbox SoftwarePublisher: 2K GamesReleased: November 26, 2013MSRP: $2.99 After the disappointingly mediocre T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest, I went into The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler with tempered expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Though the core gameplay is largely unchanged and the set of missions are just as short in length, Wattle Gobbler features a more fleshed out narrative, with funnier and more important dialogue. Mister Torgue shines as one of the most well-written characters in all of Pandora, and that brilliance helps make this DLC pack more worthwhile than the last one. Read the full Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 2: The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle here Fighter Within (Xbox One)Developer: AMA, Ltd.Publisher: UbisoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Fighter Within is a lazy tech demo with a poor story, unimpressive fighting engine, and a forgettable cast. Maybe one day we'll have a cool Kinect fighting game, where everyone at EVO is flailing around with some semblance of strategic value. But this is not that day. Read the full Fighter Within review Soulcalibur II HD Online (PSN, XBLA [reviewed])Developer: Project SoulPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease Date: November 20, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Soulcalibur II HD Online is a nearly flawless update of a decade old title. While it’s unfortunate that the online mode isn't nearly as polished as the rest of the game, the true soul of the game has never looked so beautiful. Hopefully Namco works out the kinks in the netcode, but even with its shortcomings there is more than enough game here to warrant another go with this fighting game classic. Read the full Soulcalibur II HD Online here Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS)Developer: Nd CubePublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 The only true merit of Mario Party: Island Tour is the ability to play Mario Party with your local friends on the 3DS. As long as they have a 3DS and are close-by, playing via Download Play is fairly quick and painless. However, the lack of online play and the overall single-player experience is a pretty big bummer. Unless you’re desperate and need a quick Mario Party fix on the go, stick with a console version if you can. Read the full Mario Party: Island Tour here BandFuse: Rock Legends (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Realta Entertainment GroupPublisher: Mastiff GamesRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $69.99 (Artist Pack:  game + 1/4" to USB guitar cable), $79.99 (Band Pack: 2 guitar cables, mic, 4-port USB hub, acoustic guitar adapter - game NOT included), $179.99 (Guitar Bundle - Guitar Center Exclusive: game, guitar cable, & Fender Squire Bullet guitar) It's impressive to see a game such as this, focused on not only teaching you how to play guitar, but also how to have fun with it. The multiplayer extensions are a blast (if you have that many guitars, or friends that can play), and the karaoke and backing track selections can really further the creativity. While the jumps in difficulty can be drastic at the higher levels, there's still plenty of ways to adapt, and BandFuse surprises at each step. Read the full BandFuse: Rock Legends here   Read the full Super Mario 3D World review
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Week ending 11/30 & November Game of the Month
Thank goodness November is finally over. It was a hectic month -- that will go down in gaming history as one of the greatest ever -- thanks, in no part, to the launch of two brand spanking new consoles from both Sony and Micr...

The best and worst games of the week - Xbox One is here!

Nov 23 // Wesley Ruscher
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4 [reviewed], PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ghost GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: November 15, 2013 for PS4, November 19 for Xbox 360,  PS3 Even with the balance issues and design missteps, Need for Speed: Rivals is a blast. Literally. Plowing into cops to watch them explode off the side of the road as you zip by is never not fun. So is blasting them with EMP to watch them flip in the air. And through AllDrive's connectivity, I loved being able to race up alongside someone and mash L1 to instantly challenge them to a head-to-head showdown. Ramping jumps, drift contests, dodging speed traps -- it's all a blast. There's simply too much fun to be had here to get hung up on the gripes. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review Crimson Dragon (Xbox One)Developer: Grounding, Inc. / Land Ho! Co. Ltd.Publisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that this wouldn't quite honor it, but there's plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003's Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old-school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Crimson Dragon review Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Capcom VancouverPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Although it sacrifices a tad of its loveable camp factor and neon style in favor of a few other advancements, the outcome is a much stronger, more involved Dead Rising game. For once, I actually felt overwhelmed in a zombie outbreak, which is a real example of how next-gen technology can be used to do more than simply "make things look better." Out of all the launch titles I've played on both new consoles, Dead Rising 3 is my personal favorite, bar none. Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Dead Rising 3 review LocoCycle (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Twisted Pixel GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 LocoCycle tries a lot of new things thematically, while simultaneously paying homage to classic arcade racing shooters. It doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, but if you're looking for a decent arcade shooter to toy around with on your new Xbox One, LocoCycle is it. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until it hits the Xbox 360. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full LocoCycle review Legends of Aethereus (PC, Mac, Linux)Developer: Three GatesPublisher: Three GatesReleased: September 27, 2013MSRP: $29.99 Legends of Aethereus is flawed, but not to the point of being offensive or terrible. While the setting is interesting, the weak combat and poor level design make it hard to recommend. You can experience everything the game has to offer in a couple of hours, and for an RPG that's never a good thing. Verdict: 3/10 Read the full Legends of Aethereus review Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD TokyoPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 There was a moment where I was taking in the beautiful soundtrack, hovering over a tricky jump as cat Peach, and watching the glistening water below where the game really came together. It was then that I realized that Super Mario 3D World had achieved a level of platforming design that's close to perfection, and there was almost never a moment where I didn't have a smile on my face. This is the unequivocally the best Mario game since Galaxy 2, and it shows up anything the "New" series has ever done, and then some. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Super Mario 3D World review Tearaway (Vita)Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Everything just works so well in unison. The soundtrack is delightful and odd, at times reminiscent of Paprika’s parade fanfare with its lively horns. The world, put together in paper scraps, is unbelievable in its artistry and function. Tearaway’s paper water and ripples as you walk through it are more impressive than any realistic water graphics I’ve ever seen. The level of unique detail in the world is staggering. Every moment spent immersed in it is heartwarming. Fittingly, it feels positively handcrafted. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Tearaway review Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)Developer: Turn 10Publisher: MicrosoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013 ...At the end of the day, the racing is what matters. And with this game, the racing is fantastic, and Turn 10 is really onto something with this Drivatar stuff. It alone gives Forza Motorsport 5 something over every other racer out there, pushing the genre forward. They've remedied the racing genre's biggest problem: scripted AI cars. For this, Turn 10 deserves high praise.  Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Forza Motorsport 5 review AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match (PS3)Developer: ExamuPublisher: AtlusRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $29.99 I guess good things do come to those who wait. AquaPazza is a charming little fighter that should highly appeal to anime fans and the most hardcore of fighting denizens. Beautiful visuals, catchy music, and a fighting system that perfectly culminates everything Examu has done up to this point. It’s a strong technical fighter that exudes fun and gives me some old-school Waku Waku 7 vibes with its eclectic cast. Verdict: 8.5/10 Read the full AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match review Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)Developer: Zoë ModePublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 ...Powerstar Golf isn't particularly special, but it'll win over the hearts of golf fans for sure. If all you're looking to do is whack a ball down a course on a next-gen system with the occasional bit of positive reinforcement, Powerstar is your huckleberry. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Powerstar Golf review Wii Fit U (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 5, GanbarionPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 1, 2013MSRP: Free for one month ($19.99 for full game with Fit Meter) ...Wii Fit U's mini-games are fun, but still suffer from being single-player/non-simultaneous multiplayer and there just isn't that much new stuff. If you're looking for something that will keep you motivated and get you moving, it could definitely work and the Fit Meter is an extra level of motivation, but if Wii Fit didn't do it before then I'm not sure it will work for you now. The good part is that the game is free until the end of the month so you can find out for yourself. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Wii Fit U review Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)Developer: CrytekPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 ...Ryse looks great and has a lot of great ideas, but it falls flat in nearly every respect in regards to its core story. If you're a hardcore action fan you may get some satisfaction on the highest difficulty setting, but even then I'd wait for an equally hardcore price drop. Verdict: 5/10 Read the full Ryse: Son of Rome review Super Motherload (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: XGen StudiosPublisher: XGen StudiosRelease Date: November 15, 2013 (PS4) / November 26 (PS3) / 2014 (PC)MSRP: $14.99 Super Motherload is simple enough so that anyone can pick it up and play, but complex enough for mining veterans to keep coming back to fully upgrade characters or even risk playing in hardcore mode. The sci-fi ’80s vibe is delightful and the perfect setting for this ridiculously addicting game. I find myself coming back to it at the end of every day, ready for a new adventure underground. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Super Motherload review Foul Play (PC [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: MediatonicPublisher: Devolver DigitalRelease Date: September 18, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Foul Play isn't necessarily a bad game, it just doesn't do anything to prove otherwise. It is a by-the-numbers game with a brilliant aesthetic, which in the end is just a by-the-numbers videogame. It's too long for its own good, which only highlights the mediocrity even more as the same enemy behaviors are encountered for hours. The lack of depth hurts Foul Play the most, and it's really a shame considering how brilliant the aesthetic is. I wanted to run around the stage, but playing the game made me exit stage left. Verdict: 5.5/10 Read the full Foul Play review Zoo Tycoon (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Frontier DevelopmentsPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Zoo Tycoon review Killer Instinct (Xbox One)Developer: Double Helix GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: Free ($4.99 per character, $20 Season Pass, $40 Ultra Edition) Killer Instinct may not be the new king of fighting games, and it feels a bit rushed in terms of content, but it is very solid and far exceeds my expectations for it. With a pricing scheme that doesn't feel exploitative and a balanced character roster, the well developed mechanics will keep you busy until the new content drops next year. It'll be interesting to see what the community at large thinks of it over time, but in my living room, it's a welcome addition to my fighting game roster. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Killer Instinct review The Shivah - Kosher Edition [PC]Developer: Wadjet Eye GamesPublisher: Wadjet Eye GamesRelease Date: November 21, 2013MRSP: $4.99/£3.99  Whilst the graphics are up to the same standard of previous titles from Wadjet Eye, they're a big improvement over the 2006 edition. The Shivah will run in a low-res window, so it's not going to look great on a big monitor but will look just fine on a laptop. The new music score is low-key, melancholic, and fits the mood of the game and there's a nice treat post-credits where you can listen to some out-takes from the recording sessions. ...Despite its short length, The Shivah is worth playing for its story and to see how far adventure games have come in the last few years. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full The Shivah review Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad (PC)Developer: Relic EntertainmentPublisher: SEGA EntertainmentRelease Date: November 12, 2013MSRP: $9.99 It will take you about three to six hours to play through all of the content once, and it will probably take you a few tries to complete some of the challenges. Each battle also has quite a bit of replay value -- you could easily add another 20 to 30 hours of life to Company of Heroes 2with this DLC. No matter how you slice it, that's worth the price tag. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad review
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Review Round-up: Week ending 11/23
After last week's PlayStation 4 review domination, Microsoft finally got it's chance to strut its stuff with the Xbox One. Forza Motorsports 5, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Ryse, and a handful of other excl...

The best and worst games of the week

Nov 16 // Wesley Ruscher
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Irrational GamesPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: November 12, 2013MSRP: $14.99 (included in Season Pass) Don't expect a whole lot of playtime without the second piece of the package, as Episode One's narrative will last you a solid hour or so, and you can tack on another hour or two (at maximum) if you want to explore everything. While I don't want to spoil it for you, Burial leaves off on a massive cliffhanger at the very end, which is pretty much the only point where it feels relevant. I wasn't too impressed by Burial at Sea Episode One, mostly because it just doesn't add a whole lot to the overall franchise outside of the last 30 seconds, and it's simply not compelling enough. While it's quite possible that Episode Two will tie everything together in a neat bow and blow us all away, Irrational Games has yet to make a legitimate case for a return to Rapture. Verdict: 6.5/10 Read the full BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One review XCOM: Enemy Within (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Firaxis GamesPublisher: 2K GamesRelease Date: November 12, 2013MSRP: $29.99 (PC download upgrade) / $39.99 (Console disc) If you haven't played the newest XCOM yet, now is a perfect time to do so with the Enemy Within package. For all the XCOM veterans out there, you'll find a solid amount of new activities to engage in, as well as an unprecedented amount of squad customization. In other words, this is now the definitive Enemy experience. Verdict: 9/10 Read the full XCOM: Enemy Within review Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3)Developer: Insomniac GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease Date: November 12, 2013MSRP: $29.99 (Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty included for free) Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus doesn't make great strides to change up the series, but fans won't be disappointed. Nexus is short, sweet, and to the point, with hardly a dull moment in sight, making it a fitting conclusion to the Future series. When you add in the fact that the game is budget priced and you get Quest for Booty for free, it only sweetens the deal. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus review Football Manager 2014 (PC [reviewed], Linux, Mac)Developer: Sports InteractivePublisher: SEGARelease: October 31, 2013MSRP: $49.99 / £34.99  ...this year's edition is building on what was already established; it will please longtime fans and keep them engaged as Football Manager 14 gives them all the depth and options they would want. There could still be more done to ease new fans into the series but that will maybe have to wait until next year. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Football Manager 2014 review Beer Pong! (PlayStation 3)Developer:  JV GamesPublisher: JV GamesReleased: October 22, 2013MSRP: $4.99 There's just no reason to play this. Beer Pong! is a joyless shell a college drinking game. It revolves entirely around mechanics that do not function with any sense of accuracy or precision. Save your money and play the real thing. Or do anything else. Anything at all. Verdict: 1/10 Read the full Beer Pong! review Final Exam (PC, PSN, XBLA [Reviewed])Developer: Mighty Rocket StudioPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveReleased: November 5, (PC, PSN); November 8, 2013 (XBLA)MSRP: $9.99 ...it’s not the worst of games. It does an admirable job bringing some modern systems into an old school brawler and at a more than affordable price. It controls well and the visuals are mildly entertaining with all the gooey giblets that are constantly flying around. It’s just  a game you'll go through once and never go back to again. Verdict: 5/10 Read the full Final Exam review Resogun (PlayStation 4)Developer: HousemarquePublisher: SCEReleased: November 15, 2013MSRP: $14.99 (Free for PlayStation Plus members) Resogun is a satisfying arcade-style game with a next-gen look and feel -- the ideal system launch game. It’s an eye-searing blur of a loop that you’ll be happy to jump into again and again. Don’t miss it. Verdict: 9.5/10 Read the full Resogun review Knack (PS4)Developer: Sony Japan StudioPublisher: SCEReleased: November 15, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Knack is still a fun romp, and definitely worth a play. It’s easy to pick up, a joy to look at, and and some of the boss battles are pretty great. My recommendation is that you take it in smaller doses, or try out the drop-in/drop-out cooperative play, which will definitely help when the going gets tough. It’s not the next blockbuster platformer you'd want out of a launch title, but you need a break from shooters or want something with some personality, Knack is worth a look.  Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Knack review Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)Developer: Guerrilla GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: November 15, 2013MSRP: $59.99  like Killzone: Shadow Fall for its change of direction from previous series games, as well as its change of pace over other first-person shooters. Guerrilla has tried a few new things this time around, and should be commended as such. I welcome the almost sandbox-ish level approach, and the stealth segments did a nice job of breaking up the standard shooting action. It’s really nice when gameplay concepts win out over big set pieces and cinematic events.  Oh, and it’s beautiful. A stunner. Killzone: Shadow Fall is the game that will make you happy to own a PS4. This needs to be on your PS4 launch game list. Verdicts: 9/10 Read the full Killzone: Shadow Fall review The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 3Publisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 A Link Between World's main problem at the end of the day is a complete lack of heart. There's no defining moment, no memorable villains or characters, and no truly "new" items that make their mark on the series. It's certainly playable in every sense of the word, but I didn't feel the magic I had felt so many times before. In fact, the only real legacy it leaves behind beyond being a serviceable Zelda game is its welcome streamlining, which I hope is carried over to future iterations. It's a great way to return to the world of Link to the Past, but outside of some welcome streamlining, it doesn't surpass it, or even meet it. Verdict: 6.5/10 Read the full The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds review Risk of Rain (PC)Developer: Hopoo GamesPublisher: Chucklefish GamesRelease: November 8, 2013MSRP: $9.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit All things considered, Risk of Rain is a lot of fun. Though it is held back by its technical faults (which can be reasonably expected from a project created by two students), it has the right stuff to elicit the "just one more run" response that roguelike games are known for. With a little more polish, it could be truly great, but as it is now, it's still totally worth checking out. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Risk of Rain review Contrast (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Compulsion GamesPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveRelease Date: November 14, 2013MSRP: $14.99 (Free on PlayStation Plus) There really isn't a whole lot to Contrast throughout its roughly three hour tale. It's a perfect game to pick up on PlayStation Plus for free, but if you're a non-subscriber or you're musing on another platform, I'd wait for a sale. It does a nice job of weaving a sweet little tale of a young girl and her struggle to maintain her innocence in a (literal and figurative) dark and dreary world, but it's nothing special, and nothing you haven't really seen before. Verdict: 6.5/10 Read the full Contrast review
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Review Round-up: Week ending 11/16
The Playstation 4 dominated this weeks review schedule and rightfully so. Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, Resogun, and Contrast dominated our postings -- and as of last night my Facebook wall (please turn off your notifications...

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Reviews

The best and worst games of the week


Review Round-up: Week ending 11/9
Nov 09
// Wesley Ruscher
November is here and the holidays are just around the corner. And while most of this year's major blockbusters have already hit, as we gear up for the inevitable onslaught of the next generation, there are still some surprise...
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Reviews Elsewhere: Aliens: Colonial Marines


What other critics thought of Gearbox's (or is it TimeGate's) Xenomorph romp
Feb 12
// Jim Sterling
The verdict is in for Aliens: Colonial Marines, and it's not pretty. Even having beaten the campaign over a week ago, I'm still in a hazy shock over just how bad it was, even by licensed game standards. Of course, I've made i...

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