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11:00 AM on 08.19.2014

Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

Despite how you may feel about the polarizing second arc of Sword Art Online, fans generally have nothing but good things to say about the first arc. It managed to nail a lot of aspects of MMO culture, along with marrying the...

Chris Carter


Updated! Panel details revealed:

Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection: Past, Present, Future of RPGs

The father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has announced his PAX Prime 2014 panel where he will discuss his history developing role-playing games, along with revealing more about his new RPG, Terra Battle. Find out more info at PAX Prime website.






Review: Hohokum photo
Review: Hohokum
by Kyle MacGregor

Hohokum is amazing. It can also be awful. My time with it was often as captivating as it was arduous. Hohokum is everything right and wrong with videogames. It's equally worthy of condemnation and acclaim.

I adore this horrible thing.

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Review in Progress: Firefall photo
Review in Progress: Firefall
by Chris Carter

Firefall is a game that has seemed to get a lot of press over the past few years, often for the wrong reasons. Whether it's word of troubled staff, protests, or delays, most Firefall news isn't good news.

But alas, as we all know, the true test of a game's strength is how it plays on its own merits, when it's fully released. After testing it out for a few weeks I can safely say that Firefall hasn't blown me away, but it has laid a decent foundation to build upon in the future.

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Review: Road Not Taken photo
Review: Road Not Taken
by Chris Carter

The term "roguelike" gets way too much airtime these days. If anything has permadeath, it's instantly a roguelike. If it takes place in a dungeon -- "roguelike!" But the original Rogue's core mechanical element was its grid-based gameplay, where every action by the player warranted an equal and opposite reaction, adding a puzzle element to the mix. 

Road Not Taken operates very closely to the formula of the original Rogue, but doesn't really hold that premise as well as it should throughout.

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

Look, $50 is a lot of money for a Season Pass in a first-person shooter. If it was just comprised of 16 maps alone, no matter how good they were, it probably wouldn't be worth the money for all but the most diehard of FPS fans.

But thankfully, Infinity Ward has made amends for the rather bland core package of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the Nemesis map pack is no exception. In addition to four solid maps, there's another chapter of Extinction, the developer's out-of-this-world take on Treyarch's zombies.

Because of these packs, I'm actually a bit more excited for Infinity Ward's follow-up in two year's time.

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Review: Sacred 3 photo
Review: Sacred 3
by Alasdair Duncan

"I love it."

The specter of Diablo looms large over the action-RPG genre; most games borrow heavily from Blizzard's seminal game and those games' success is usually judged on how close they stick to the formula and how well they execute on that.

"Oh baby."

While it's tempting to praise a game for breaking away from some of the genre's conventions in order to make itself stand out from the crowd, Sacred 3 has stripped away so many of the things that make an APRG fun. Stats? Pretty much gone. Loot? Almost none. A really enjoyable combat system? Nope.

"Sexy!"

Oh, and there's people talking wince-inducing garbage over the whole thing.

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Review: Steel Empire photo
Review: Steel Empire
by Chris Carter

Steel Empire is a game that not many people were able to experience, sadly. As a child, you likely only had access to either a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, which cut out a ton of potential classics for you to play and cherish as time's cold embrace passed you by.

I was very lucky to experience it for a few brief days attending a friend's house many years ago, and now, thanks to the magic of porting, everyone can give it a go on the 3DS. As long as the price point isn't too rich for your blood, you should jump on this opportunity.

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Review: Gods Will Be Watching photo
Review: Gods Will Be Watching
by Alasdair Duncan

Gods Will Be Watching is a tough game. It puts the player in positions that they'd rather not be in and asks them to make difficult choices. In order to succeed at a mission, you may have to do unthinkable things, betray your morals, and become a monster just to survive a little longer.

It's also tough in another sense: the game is bloody hard. 

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Review: Battle Princess of Arcadias photo
Review: Battle Princess of Arcadias
by Kyle MacGregor

A pastime needn't necessarily be transcendent to make for an experience enjoyable. So long as there's a hook, something to keep one captivated throughout the journey's duration, it's easy enough to look beyond some frayed edges and just enjoy the ride.

In the case of Battle Princess of Arcadias, the hook never really manifests. The action role-playing game casts out some nice ideas, but none are quite compelling enough to really reel one in.

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Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas photo
Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
by Chris Carter

When many Warcraft fans hear the name Naxxramas, it conjures up memories of late nights and pizza, while taking on the tough-as-nails raid in World of Warcraft (or as I know it, Naxx). It was one of the most enjoyable areas of the franchise lore-wise, as it focused on some of the more nefarious villains in the series' realm.

Archlich Kel'Thuzad returns as the big bad in Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, but you won't be able to fight him right away. Yep, that's right, each "wing" of the DLC will unlock over the course of five weeks, and although the first wing is free, each wing will cost in-game currency or real money.

It's an interesting way to deliver DLC, and so far, it's more than enough to get me back into Hearthstone.

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Review: Sokobond photo
Review: Sokobond
by Darren Nakamura

Chemistry is governed by a definite set of rules. Opposite charges attract, like dissolves like, matter is always conserved. There are more rules than just those, but one of the great things about the study of matter and its interactions is that if one truly understands the rules and laws governing chemicals, he can predict outcomes given a set of preconditions.

In that sense, Sokobond has even more in common with chemistry than it lets on. Though it boasts that no chemistry knowledge is required to play, it too runs on a specific set of rules, and any player who internalizes those rules can find success in-game. As a fortunate side effect, any who spend time connecting atoms in Sokobond might just learn something about chemistry too.

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Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: Amid the Ruins photo
Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: Amid the Ruins
by Chris Carter

The last episode of The Walking Dead was probably my favorite one yet -- and that's including all of Lee's tale from the first season. Clem has made the switch from tough to full-on badass depending on your choices, and it's clear that she is fully a part of some of the horrific life-or-death choices in the world.

Clem can no longer hold onto her innocence and fall back on her young appearance -- at this point, many decisions have been made that cannot be taken back, and the rest of the group is starting to notice it. That hook right there is what makes Amid the Ruins such a great tale, even if it doesn't have the same wow factor as its predecessor.

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Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Sunken King photo
Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Sunken King
by Chris Carter

2014 has been very good to me, but Dark Souls II is one of my favorite games of the year. Many debates have raged on as to whether or not it's as exceptional as its predecessor (Demon's Souls is better than both), but having played it prior to launch without any hints or guides, I heartily enjoyed getting lost in its labyrinthine tunnels and deadly arenas.

The Crown of the Sunken King DLC expands that goodness by about five to ten hours depending on your skill level, and even if it's one of the less remarkable levels in the game, it's still worth playing.

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Review: Squids Odyssey photo
Review: Squids Odyssey
by Darren Nakamura

Splatoon might be getting a lot of hype for Wii U squid battling, but it is not the first game featuring a squid squad to grace the console. Earlier this year, Squids made its jump from iOS to the Wii U with Squids Odyssey, and it even blazed a trail for cross buy on Nintendo systems.

Squids combines two disparate gameplay elements: tactical role-playing and skill-based slingshot physics. Squids Odyssey takes the original game, the sequel Squids Wild West, and adds in even more levels, characters, and hats into an impressively large package. That said, the package seems better suited for mobile than home console.

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Review: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty photo
Review: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
by Chris Carter

One of the first games I ever played on PlayStation was Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. I remember opening up the jewel case, adorned by a creepy looking creature with his mouth sewn shut, with no idea of what to expect. Over the course of the next few weeks I became acquainted with that creature called Abe, and slowly made my way through the difficult puzzle platformer at a slow, but steady pace.

2014's New N' Tasty is basically a recreation of that same experience from 1997, for better and for worse.

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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing more Frontlines PVP and of course, more hunting.

Over the past week and a half I've tried just about everything there is to try, and I found that overall, it's getting people to do a diverse array of content -- as opposed to 2.2 which generally funneled people into a few venues. It's not the most balanced patch, but it adds a ton of stuff to do other than grind out end-game tokens, and I'm sure that makes a lot of former subscribers happy.

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