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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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Review: Yumi's Odd Odyssey photo
Review: Yumi's Odd Odyssey
by Chris Carter

We truly live in a magnificent era when it comes to portables. Games we would have never imagined seeing the light of day are localized, and indies are thriving with the combination of the eShop and low development costs of the 3DS.

The latest developer to take a bite of the apple is Agatsuma Entertainment, who is finally bringing over a piece of the Umihara Kawase series -- which has been going strong since its debut on the Super Nintendo in 1994.

While the price point may be undeniably steep, I'm really glad that this game was localized.

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Review: Toukiden: The Age of Demons photo
Review: Toukiden: The Age of Demons
by Kyle MacGregor

Originality is a pretty hard thing to come by, and ideas don't just materialize out of thin air. They're a patchwork of experiences lifted from our surroundings, filtered, and diffused back out into the world.

Many of us hide the stitching of our subliminal thievery, as we pull together material and create pastiches that are uniquely our own. Some openly celebrate their influences. And others are brazen enough to poach thoughts wholesale, copying intricate formulas to churn out imitation products.

Toukiden: The Age of Demons falls in that last category. Just about the furthest thing in the world from an original game, it pilfers liberally from the Monster Hunter series, and does little to obscure that fact. And that's okay. Despite the game's derivative nature, it manages to provide a reasonably decent, if somewhat drab, facsimile of its paragon.

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Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls photo
Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
by Chris Carter

After the classic that was Diablo II, expectations for a follow-up were at an all-time high. Although it could never really meet those expectations, Diablo III was a fine hack and slash, and I ended up replaying it time and time again with every possible class.

But it wasn't perfect of course, since loot was designed around the ill-fated and ill-designed Auction House, putting a damper on long-term gear goals. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls may not reinvent the wheel, but it eliminates many of the problems from DIII proper.

And most importantly, the Auction House is gone all around!

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Review: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two photo
Review: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two
by Chris Carter

BioShock Infinite had an interesting run, with player reception all over the board. Some loved it, some hated it, others reveled in its celebration of violence, some disapproved. It's probably going to be a long time before we get to debate the merits of another BioShock game again though, considering the fact that Irrational Games has dissolved, and is handing over the franchise to 2K.

So that leaves Burial at Sea Episode Two as Irrational's last hurrah, and I'm pleased to say it's a vast improvement upon the foundation that was built in Episode One.

[Be warned: there are minor spoilers involving Episode One below.]

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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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