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4:00 PM on 04.14.2014

Review: Putty Squad

Of all of the games to get a PS4 remake, you'd probably never put Putty Squad, an SNES game from 1994, at the top of the list. But here we are in 2014 with a full-on re-imagining, with more or less the same platforming mechanics that still work nearly 20 years later. The only problem is, System 3 Software has opted to charge $29.99 for a decidedly dated game -- which is a bit of a problem.

Chris Carter


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Review: Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming photo
Review: Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming
by Kyle MacGregor

The original Half-Minute Hero was a very special and intriguing game. It boiled down an entire genre to its barest essentials, reducing the interminably long JRPG to just thirty seconds of gameplay.

Both a heartfelt tribute and pointed critique, the bite-sized adventure brimmed with self-referential humor. It trot out just about every trope in the book, firing on all cylinders with a lengthy series of inside jokes and clever witticisms. Smart, familiar, and charming; it appealed to both fans of the genre and detractors alike in a way that so few games do.

Humor often has diminishing returns though. Even the funniest quip can lose some of its luster the second time around. And in that regard, Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming isn't quite as remarkable as its predecessor. Luckily, the deconstructionist RPG has upped its game in other arenas.

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Review: MLB 14 The Show photo
Review: MLB 14 The Show
by Steven Hansen

I was ready for last year’s The Show to be its PS3 swansong, I was feeling it. It’s not that it wasn’t good. It was as good as it ever was. But there were signs of age. The same old horrifying fan models in the stands with crooked limbs and dead faces. The same bone dry commentators. It felt like the right time for The Show to be transitioning to PS4.

But this is sports, or at least sports games. When is the last time someone went out while they were ahead in sports? But hey, if the Red Sox can give David Ortiz -- a designated hitter in 2014; an endangered species – a $16 million contract extension for what he’s meant to Boston over the last 12 years, I can give The Show on PS3 another ride for being the only good baseball series. Especially since the PS4 versions isn’t even out yet.

I mean, I owe the Giants’ first World Series to a platoon of antiquated weirdo journeymen and a weirder, sappier story than Space Cowboys. This isn’t just “another year, another Show,” either. This is a franchise in clear transition to the next generation, which has benefited the current generation.

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Review: Neo XYX photo
Review: Neo XYX
by Chris Carter

The shoot-'em-up genre will never perish, and neither will the Dreamcast. No matter how niche it can get at times, shooters old and new come out of the woodwork in the most unexpected of places, from Steam to legacy consoles.

One such release is Neo XYX, a new (yes, in 2014) game for the Sega's last console, making this the second Dreamcast release this year. It's also the best.

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Review: Constant C photo
Review: Constant C
by Darren Nakamura

Since Braid hit it big in 2008, puzzle platformers have been indie bread and butter. Manipulation of physics concepts like time and gravity has become relatively common in the genre. Constant C takes those ideas a half step further, by combining them.

In the end, it works. Though gravity control is nothing new, the combination of it with the frozen time mechanic allows for situations that have not been seen before. Some of these situations come up more often than they need to, but the journey stays interesting enough to see it through to the end in Constant C.

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Review: Escape Goat 2 photo
Review: Escape Goat 2
by Ben Pack

Escape Goat 2 is not a goat simulator. No, this is another goat game. I know it’s confusing. Sometimes two seemingly identical properties come out of nowhere. Armageddon came out two months after Deep Impact, moviegoers confused The Thin Red Line with Saving Private Ryan, and now, in the Spring of 2014, we have two games with goat protagonists.

But other than the main characters, these games have nothing in common.

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Review: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile photo
Review: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile
by Chris Carter

In some ways, Telltale's Wolf Among Us has topped its already stellar Walking Dead franchise. Although it doesn't feature a true post-apocalyptic setting, it still manages to feel bleak and hopeless in its own way. It also helps that almost every character is memorable, and the situations, harrowing.

The last time we saw Bigby Wolf he had just made a break in the case, and was hot on the trail of the murderer that had been plaguing Fabletown. While the follow-up isn't really as exciting as its predecessor, it still features the same likable and intriguing world -- and at this point, it's clear that the final episodes are going to be one hell of a ride.

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Review: Kinect Sports Rivals photo
Review: Kinect Sports Rivals
by Chris Carter

The original Kinect Sports for the Xbox 360 did exactly what it set out to to do. It didn't set the world on fire or reinvent gaming as we know it, but it showed that despite some gimmicky features, the Kinect actually works -- for the most part.

And here we are almost four years later with Kinect Sports Rivals -- a souped-up version that's no longer just a free pack-in, but a premium-priced game delayed months after the release of the Xbox One.

As you can imagine, the actual results are mixed.

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Review: Betrayer photo
Review: Betrayer
by Steven Hansen

Awash on a beach amidst scattered boxes and waterlogged wood, Betrayer drew me into its chiaroscuro world immediately. Behind me was a blinding, blown out whiteness and an impassable expanse of sea. Ahead of me was intrigue, a mysterious red figure on the horizon, and a state of discontent.

Oh, it starts out strong, before I ended up feeling, well, betrayed. The unsettling, moody sense of exploration began getting replaced by typical, "gamey" systems and way more first-person shooting than I was hoping for. Betrayer is frustrating for its flashes of brilliance undermined by a death grip on conventions.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access and Launch)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

I've been hard at work playing Elder Scrolls Online this week (you can check out our initial impressions here), and now my low-level Imperial Dragonknight is sitting at a very formidable level 20. I've completed many dungeons, traveled to a heap of locations, and I've seen a ton of story-related quests.

So should you jump into Tamriel and pony up for the hefty $15 subscription fee? Well, it's complicated.

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Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Devastation photo
Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Devastation
by Chris Carter

Infinity Ward's DLC capabilities may not be up to snuff compared to Treyarch's, but the fact that they're trying is good enough for me. Call of Duty: Ghost's Onslaught DLC was a major step up in quality when compared to their prior milquetoast map packs, and somehow they've even managed to top Michael Meyer's cameo with the goddamn Predator.

Not all of the maps are created equal, but another strong Extinction mission and the Predator gimmick help elevate the package considerably.

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Review: Rusty's Real Deal Baseball photo
Review: Rusty's Real Deal Baseball
by Chris Carter

During the first hour of Rusty's Real Deal Baseball I babysat one of the titular character's 10 kids, played a 4DS, and fed him donuts while I listened to his marital problems.

I'm glad Nintendo decided to make this game.

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Review: Mercenary Kings photo
Review: Mercenary Kings
by Patrick Hancock

Mercenary Kings is a Kickstarter success story that has finally made its way into the consumer’s hands. Combining elements from games like Monster Hunter and Metal SlugKings attempts to capture player’s hearts with its retro look and lighthearted feel.

Also you can make a gun that is a cat and goes "mew!" when you fire it.

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Review: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma photo
Review: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma
by Ben Pack

If the pacing of Street Fighter was baseball, and Marvel vs Capcom 3 was basketball, BlazBlue would be a free-for-all cage match match between two over-caffeinated nine-year-olds.

And I mean this in the most endearing way possible.

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Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: The Elder Scrolls Online (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing The Elder Scrolls Online over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our new Reviews in Progress program.]

In many ways ZeniMax is fighting an uphill battle with Elder Scrolls Online. In an era increasingly filled with free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games are a tougher sell. Then you have the fact that Bethesda isn't involved in any capacity, and that this is ZeniMax's first ever MMO.

Yes, there are many things going against The Elder Scrolls Online, but based on my time with the live environment, it's still a serviceable game -- provided you're highly accustomed to the genre.

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Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition photo
Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition
by Chris Carter

I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on a Dynasty Warriors game. It was a cold winter afternoon in 2000, and for whatever reason, one lone copy of Dynasty Warriors 2 was calling my name at a local Blockbuster. I picked it up and subsequently played for days on end -- I was hooked.

Now here we are fourteen years later with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (also branded the Complete Edition on the PS4 and Vita), with a brand new Lu Bu storyline, among other features. Like DW8 proper, fans will definitely want to pursue this one.

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