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Review: Deception IV: Blood Ties photo
Review: Deception IV: Blood Ties
by Chris Carter

The Deception franchise is a series I wish more people were aware of. Although the concept of a character that can't physically defend themselves isn't typically a popular go-to mechanic, this survival horror-like idea is turned on its head with the existence of deadly traps.

There's something soothing about setting up a ridiculously elaborate Goldbergian machine and unleashing it upon your foes that's insanely satisfying, and Deception IV is no exception. In fact, it may be the best and bloodiest entry yet.

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Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight photo
Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight
by Chris Carter

Nippon Ichi Software is one hell of a developer. One day they could be lighting the world on fire with one of the most celebrated games in a genre (Disgaea), and the next, they could be milking a franchise into oblivion (Disgaea Infinite). Strategy RPGs are their forte, but they've made 2D platformers, action-RPGs, and a whole lot more.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is their latest, and it's basically an amalgamation of everything they've learned so far -- which is both good and bad.

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Review: Blackguards photo
Review: Blackguards
by Patrick Hancock

In many ways, I'm very glad that Final Fantasy: Tactics had such a big influence on my tastes. It's an incredibly well made game and put me on a path towards playing more games of its ilk like Phantom Brave or the more recent Expeditions: Conquistador. Now, it's brought me to Blackguards.

Blackguards is fantasy, its tactics, and it's difficult without being unfair. Boy am I glad I played FF:T.

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Review: The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville photo
Review: The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville
by Darren Nakamura

Fifteen years ago, The Powerpuff Girls was my jam. I used to watch it (along with Dexter's Laboratory) just about every day after coming home from school, but before firing up a videogame. A couple weeks ago, when The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was announced, I approached it with a level of caution appropriate for a beloved childhood franchise resurrected with a new look. That is to say, I was prepared for the worst.

Previously, developer Radiangames was mostly known for a handful of decent, but perhaps uninspired Xbox Live Indie Games. Licensed titles are often sub-par, and especially those that are timed to release in the same window as the source material. Despite all of that, Defenders of Townsville ends up as a unique, genuinely entertaining metroidvania.

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Review: Pokemon Battle Trozei photo
Review: Pokemon Battle Trozei
by Chris Carter

There once was a time when "match three" puzzle games were a rare commodity, but after the rip-roaring success of Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest, it feels like there's a new match title released every month. The craze kind of came to a head with Candy Crush, which is probably the most popular (and hated) of its kind on the market.

But quietly back in 2005, Pokemon Trozei made its own mark on the DS and created quite the fanbase. Now just shy of a decade later Trozei is back on the 3DS, attempting to break through this crowded space.

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Review: The LEGO Movie Videogame photo
Review: The LEGO Movie Videogame
by Ian Bonds

First things first: if you haven't seen The LEGO Movie, you should probably go do that right now. It's awesome, and your face will love it.

Back yet? OK, good.

For those of you who have seen it, this is your predictable licensed tie-in. Well, predictable in that it exists, not that it behaves predictably as a tie-in. Though, if you've played any of Traveler's Tales LEGO games, there is a certain amount of predictability here anyway.

Not that most of that is a bad thing in this case...

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Review: inFamous: Second Son photo
Review: inFamous: Second Son
by Chris Carter

I never liked the first inFamous.

I can't quite put my finger on what I disliked most -- perhaps it was the droll art style, the cookie-cutter city sandbox, or the sentient wooden plank that Sucker Punch named "Cole Macgrath." Thankfully, the New Orleans-like setting of the sequel spiced things up a bit, and the decision to go with an even sillier vampiric setup made Festival of Blood more enjoyable.

inFamous: Second Son takes everything that the series has done right, puts it in a blender, and delivers what is easily the strongest entry yet.

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Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z photo
Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
by Wesley Ruscher

On paper, the thought of participating in an eight-player Dragon Ball Z battle sounds like the stuff of fanboy dreams. Blasting Kamehamehas across the chasms of Namek while fighting alongside your favorite Saiyans could be as exhilarating virtually as it was to watch years ago on TV.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z attempts to recreate this in all its chaotic glory. More than a simple one-versus-one fighter, the game is jam packed with characters -- from practically the entirety of the franchise -- that can be pitted in teams of four against each other in any dream combination possible.

Unfortunately in reality, having four Krillins trying to dismantle the likes of Androids 16 through 19 together is not even half as entertaining as the thought is ridiculous.

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Review: Dead Rising 3: The Last Agent photo
Review: Dead Rising 3: The Last Agent
by Chris Carter

So far we've had three pieces of underwhelming Dead Rising 3 DLC, in the form of Operation Broken Eagle, Fallen Angel, and Chaos Rising. That's three parts of the four-part Season Pass, and now all that's left is The Last Agent.

It's a shame Capcom decided to charge money for these.

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Review: Luftrausers photo
Review: Luftrausers
by Conrad Zimmerman

Vlambeer's air combat game, Luftrausers, has finally been cleared for take-off, following a wait that seemed far longer than anybody expected it would. It's been worth holding out for, and fans of high speed, challenging shoot-em-ups have something pretty special on their hands.

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Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z photo
Review: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
by Chris Carter

I really didn't know what to expect from Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.

On one hand, it has the Ninja Gaiden name (which, admittedly, doesn't have much sway these days) and Keiji Inafune attached. But on the other, you have Spark Unlimited and the so-so grindhouse setup that kind of fell flat with a series of dull trailers.

The end result is a game that attempts to try a lot of different concepts, and only succeeds at a select few.

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Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes photo
Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
by Chris Carter

Ever since I randomly picked up a conspicuous looking Metal Gear NES catridge in 1990, I've been enjoying Snake's adventures. I've collected every Metal Gear game released in the US, and while I'm busy waiting for the next entry, I'm keeping up with the encyclopedic amount of data that fills the series' lore -- which is a task all on its own.

And wait we shall, as Phantom Pain is still completely up in the air regarding its release date, leaving Kojima and crew to satiate our needs with Ground Zeroes. But even as a fan, there are a few shortcomings that make me hesitant to call Zeroes a "must have" franchise entry, despite how fun it might be.

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Review: Strike Vector photo
Review: Strike Vector
by Josh Tolentino

Flying is great. Fighting while flying is pretty great, too, but for some reason, dogfighting in good ol' atmosphere hasn't caught on as quickly as dogfighting in space. Despite the resurgence of space games brought on by the rise of crowdfunding and indie development, "sky-shooters" outside the niche simulation market remain in somewhat short supply.

Strike Vector is the kind of game that aims to scratch that itch, and several more besides. Heck, the fact that it says "Brutal Aerial FPS" right on the figurative box is an apt descriptor for what developer Ragequit Corporation is attempting to do.

The only question is if they've enough thrust to send their little game soaring.

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Review: Tappingo photo
Review: Tappingo
by Darren Nakamura

Pure puzzle games can have a sort of zen effect for some players. Through repetition, players can almost subconsciously solve logic puzzles that would take an untrained person serious thought. When done well, time seems to melt away and all that matters is achieving nirvana through the journey to the solution.

The Japanese puzzles sudoku and nonogram (better known as Picross among gamers) manage to hit that sweet spot for many. Tappingo aims to join those ranks with a new way to recreate pixel images through use of deductive reasoning. It begins with promise, but never manages to reach its full potential.

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Review: The Art of Titanfall photo
Review: The Art of Titanfall
by Ian Bonds

When you create a new IP from scratch, it's pretty much a given that you'll have to go through a lot of the design phase until you land on an idea that jumps out at you. The developers at Respawn Entertainment had no idea what their new title would be, and the concept art they designed shaped what would eventually become Titanfall.

Thankfully, Titan Books has seen fit to share these designs with us. If you enjoy behind-the-scenes looks at the design aspect of game development, this is prime example of how to showcase it right.

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Review: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft photo
Review: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
by Ben Pack

I never got into Magic: The Gathering. Plenty of my friends did, but I couldn't afford countless booster packs or starter decks, and my mom wouldn't drive me to the seedy local comic book store to play against frightening high schoolers.

I loved the concept of trading card games, though. I collected Pokémon cards like any other red-blooded American child of the ‘90s, and even dabbled in Yu-Gi-Oh for a very dark four months. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft isn't the first videogame to attempt to do the same thing as Magic, but it’s easily one of the best.

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