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Review: Shovel Knight photo
Review: Shovel Knight
by Chris Carter

Good things come to those who wait. And boy, have we been waiting for Shovel Knight.

Even though they only just completed their Kickstarter last April, it feels like we've been twiddling our thumbs for eons for Yacht Club Games' debut release. With delay after delay prohibiting us from getting our hands on this love-letter to retro platformers, at one point it felt like it was never going to see the light of day.

Well, it's here now -- and it's everything we hoped it would be.

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Review: Valiant Hearts: The Great War photo
Review: Valiant Hearts: The Great War
by Chris Carter

You don't see a lot of games taking place in World War I outside of the strategy genre. Beyond that, you don't see a lot of representations of World War I in general in any form of media, because the "Second Great War" tends to take up that spotlight.

But Ubisoft Montpellier decided to take on the first worldwide conflict in the form of Valiant Hearts: The Great War, meshing a beautiful cartoon veneer with very serious (and historically accurate) source material.

As a result, you might learn a thing or two while you're solving a well designed pulley puzzle.

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Review: Ultra Street Fighter IV photo
Review: Ultra Street Fighter IV
by Brittany Vincent

The Street Fighter series is one that will always invariably undergo several revisions, all in the name of uncovering the perfect fighter. Ultra Street Fighter IV, the latest iteration of 2009's massively popular Street Fighter IV, is an exemplary specimen of what cherry-picking mechanics, features, brawlers, and balancing alterations can do for an already venerable fighting game.

Despite being the fifth "remix" of a solid title, Ultra Street Fighter IV is a comprehensive series of tweaks and upgrades that come together to showcase the most feature-rich version of Street Fighter IV yet.

On the surface, the alterations may not even be noticeable to players who breeze in and out of Street Fighter in a casual manner. Other than additional characters and cosmetic augments, it seems very much like the same game. Indeed, much of where Ultra Street Fighter IV's appeal will lie is within the fighting enthusiast crowd.

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Review: Magical Beat photo
Review: Magical Beat
by Chris Carter

No matter what the climate is in the industry, there seems to be an overwhelming demand for battle puzzle games. That's ok with me though, because ever since playing Yoshi, Dr. Mario, and Wario's Woods for the NES, I've been enjoying the fierce competitive element that these games can bring, and playing with a formidable rival can be quite the rush.

The newest kid on the block is Magical Beat -- a rhythm puzzle game for the Vita by Arc System Works. Naturally, they couldn't resist putting in Guilty Gear and BlazBlue tunes, which are easily the best part.

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Review: Entwined  photo
Review: Entwined
by Kyle MacGregor

Entwined mesmerized in its unexpected E3 debut, washing over viewers like a breath of fresh air, with its sweeping strings, pastel waves of color, and a romantic scene between two creatures from different worlds.

Unveiled by a team of unknowns under the industry's brightest lights, it came totally out of left field, interposed between two of PlayStation's hottest upcoming properties. We were made to presume this was the successor to Flower, or perhaps the next Unfinished Swan, given Sony's track record taking talent out of university programs under its nurturing wing.

Talent is the key word here. It's obviously something Pixelopus, the nascent studio behind Entwined, possesses in large quantities. But those gifts seem raw and unrefined. The developer's first effort desperately wants to be brilliant and profound, but too often settles for something decidedly more vapid.

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Review: EA Sports UFC photo
Review: EA Sports UFC
by Ben Pack

Usually when I'm watching two grown men beat each other up, their names are Ryu and Ken.

I am a fan of a good fight in games, but aside from the occasional boxing match I have never been very interested in MMA. After watching trailers for EA Sports UFC, I figured now might be the time to start to learn the sport through the game.

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Review: Pushmo World photo
Review: Pushmo World
by Chris Carter

People say Nintendo never does anything original outside of Mario and Zelda -- but as we all know, that's absolutely not true. Not only has the company taken chances on wacky IPs all throughout its storied history, but the advent of digital downloads has further satiated its desire to try out new characters and games.

Take the 3DS for example, which rolled out new properties like Dillon's Rolling Western, Sakura Samurai, and my personal favorite of the bunch -- Pushmo. It's hard to believe that in just three short years there have been three Pushmo games, but all of them are good, even the newest iteration that's hitting the Wii U for the first time.

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Review: Dead Rising 3: Super Ultra Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α photo
Review: Dead Rising 3: Super Ultra Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α
by Chris Carter

Although the DLC for Dead Rising 3 has been disappointing as a whole, Capcom surprised us all during E3 with the announcement of a new exciting prospect -- the Super Ultra Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α add-on.

Simply put, this pack is a massive piece of fanservice, complete with a giant zombie M. Bison boss, outfits ranging from Street Fighter to Darkstalkers, and even little extras like Power Stone billboards.

It also has a Rival Schools reference and a playable Sigma outfit, which is enough for me.

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Review: Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes photo
Review: Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes
by Jonathan Holmes

I'm angry that I had to write this review of 1001 Spikes, as I would have rather spent this time playing more of it. That anger makes me all the more similar to the game's titular hero Aban Hawkins. Neglected and disrespected by his famous father and stuck in the shadow of his intelligent and responsible sister, he's got every reason to be a grump. This is a man with something to prove and he doesn't care how badly he's going to get hurt in the process. He's not going to stop until he shows the world that nobody and nothing can keep him down.

Aban's story is a perfect fit for the world of hurt he runs into headfirst. 1001 Spikes is a game of endless danger, a place where eye contact with death is a near constant. The game fights you nearly every step of the way, but it always fights fair, making each small victory feel like a life affirming success. Those who can summon the bravery to risk the challenges here are bound to discover that they are capable of more than they had given themselves credit for.

For the tenacious, nothing is impossible.

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Review: Tomodachi Life photo
Review: Tomodachi Life
by Darren Nakamura

Nintendo catches a lot of flak for relying too heavily on its established franchises. Though it has been producing new properties, few have gained traction among hardcore gamers since Pikmin. Tomodachi Life might be overlooked for the same reasons. Its use of Miis and its nebulous gameplay could lead to some labeling it as too casual.

Do not fall into that trap. Tomodachi Life is one of the best Nintendo games in years.

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

So far in the saga that is Call of Duty: Ghosts, the fun factor of the game has increased tremendously through the first two map packs -- Onslaught and Devastation, which allow you to play as Michael Meyers and Predator, respectively. Slowly but surely Infinity Ward has been addressing concerns from Ghosts, adding in more interesting locations on top of a ton of little extras that add up over time.

Although Invasion doesn't have a gimmick as strong as say, a playable horror or action movie villain, its tricks are more spread out over the entire DLC, making for one of the best map packs yet.

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Review: Murdered: Soul Suspect  photo
Review: Murdered: Soul Suspect
by Brittany Vincent

Ever since I completed Heavy Rain and walked away from it looking for a similar departure, I've been unable to find a suitable replacement beyond the realm of classic adventure gaming.  Though Heavy Rain was plagued with its own special set of problems, it left a lasting impression on me, a missing link to the golden days of adventure gaming, blended with something decidedly modern. Beyond: Two Souls seemed promising, but I soon realized it was merely a husk of the game I had hoped to see.

When Murdered: Soul Suspect arrived on the scene, it looked like it might fit the bill perfectly. And while the once venerable Square Enix branding may once have meant I could skip along merrily in the confines of the game that wore it so proudly, that certainly isn't the case these days. Thus, it was with much trepidation that I approached Murdered: Soul Suspect, in the hopes that I wouldn't get burned once more. Today, I emerge from the flames with a warning: to stay away until this one invariably hits the bargain bin.

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Review in Progress: WildStar (Early-Access) photo
Review in Progress: WildStar (Early-Access)
by Chris Carter

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

The time has finally come for WildStar to back up all that hype. For years Carbine Studios has said that they will cater to all of the jaded MMO fans out there, as well as the most hardcore of players seeking a challenge -- and that's quite a tall order.

While they haven't quite succeeded with all their claims in the early stages of the game, there's still plenty of time to go on my journey to level 50, and I'm still having a good deal of fun getting there.

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Review: Astebreed photo
Review: Astebreed
by Kyle MacGregor

The rising prominence of independent games has been oft described as meteoric. The center of gravity has shifted over the course of a single generation. As hardware becomes exponentially more powerful and development costs spiral out of control, small teams and virtual unknowns have stepped into the limelight, while the old guard recesses into the shadows.

Or at least that is what's happening in the Western world. Things are a little bit different in Japan, to put it mildly. While the country has a long history of independent development, it's one far more clandestine than our own. Bereft of a strong distribution network and mainstream notoriety, Japanese indies have largely gone ignored, save for a handful of outliers such as Cave Story.

The tides are beginning to turn though, with events like BitSummit and groups like Playism bringing these titles to larger audiences and the global stage. That's the case with Astebreed, a name you almost assuredly do not recognize, but also one that demands your attention.

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Review: Mario Kart 8 photo
Review: Mario Kart 8
by Chris Carter

After the first three console entries, Mario Kart and I have had a semi-bumpy ride. After hundreds, possibly thousands of hours spent playing Super Mario Kart, 64, and Double Dash, I didn't have the same fervor as I once did from the DS iteration on.

I barely played Mario Kart Wii due to a lack of interest, and I was let down in many ways by the underwhelming Mario Kart 7. But thanks to the magic of Mario Kart 8, I'm all in again just like the olden days. It helps that it's one of the most gorgeous and breathtaking games on the market right now.

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Review: Worms Battlegrounds photo
Review: Worms Battlegrounds
by Chris Carter

Coming up on the 20th anniversary of the Worms series, yet another Worms game is upon us.

This is technically the first current-gen title though, worming its way onto the Xbox One and PS4. As you can imagine so early in these consoles' lifecyles, the generational differences really aren't astounding enough to make a difference.

But thankfully, the foundation is still as rock solid as Worms has ever been, even if that isn't exactly a remarkable achievement.

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