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5:00 PM on 03.29.2015

Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage

With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I like and dislike different parts of it in almost equal measure. The combat is exciting and the characters are likable. On the other hand, the environments are a little dull and it suff...

Darren Nakamura



Faith in gaming: The influence of Christianity in videogames photo
Faith in gaming: The influence of Christianity in videogames
by Ben Davis

Religion is not something that is discussed much when talking about videogames, even though many games often feature religious themes and stories based on religious texts. It's difficult to avoid these things, since religion has had such an enormous influence on all cultures, so of course we're going to see it making its way into videogames.

I've always appreciated seeing religious themes in games, even though I'm not religious myself. The folklore is very interesting to learn about, and it's not something I've spent a lot of my time reading up on by myself, so experiencing it in a videogame is about as close as I'm gonna get. Christianity in particular seems to be quite rare in videogames, but there are plenty of quality examples if you know where to look.

Here are a few specific examples of Christianity's influence in videogames:

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Experience Points .09: Final Fantasy IX photo
Experience Points .09: Final Fantasy IX
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Final Fantasy IX. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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What if videogame consoles were Transformers? photo
What if videogame consoles were Transformers?
by Mike Cosimano

This isn't clickbait. This isn't some article cashing in on hypothetical fan art of an Xbox turning into Megatron or a post about those awesome Mega Drive/PlayStation Transformers. This is my life, you fools. I've spent time pouring over this existential question. The world needs to know: what if videogame consoles were Transformers? Here are the Transformers they would be, mostly framed through the IDW comics because those are rad.

You're welcome.

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Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC photo
Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC
by Dealzon

Whether its fighting random dragons or avoiding helicopter spawns, there's lots of solid deals this weekend for PC gamers.

If you know for sure you're going to buy Grand Theft Auto V on PC on release day next month, you can snag 25% off this weekend via our special code here. For $45, you'll get to enjoy RockStar's DRM and play a 1.5 year old game. Seriously, best deal of the century.

The same digital retailer is running a sale on a ton of Bethesda titles including the Elder Scroll V: Skryim Legendary Edition for only $10. The deal is so good that the title is currently "out of stock" - but GMG is guaranteeing that every purchase thru the weekend will receive a copy by March 31st.

In the console department, things are a bit more light but there's a pretty good deal on a Mario Party 10 + amiibo combo for $52 at Newegg - though uh, the title hasn't exactly won raving reviews.

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Review: Pillars of Eternity photo
Review: Pillars of Eternity
by Conrad Zimmerman

Pillars of Eternity is a sort of game which appeared unlikely to exist again in any meaningful way. Isometric, party-based role-playing games certainly seemed like the sort of thing people made, "back in the day," something to be fondly remembered as products of their era's limitations that we've since moved on from.

Yet, here we are. People can still make these games, and these games can still be great.

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EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands photo
EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands
by Brett Makedonski

The developers at CCP face a unique challenge with EVE Online that other studios don't necessarily face. Its players expect an incredibly deep and detailed experience, which means that evolving the game is particularly difficult. In the past, CCP accomplished this by holding the reins tight. Player freedom was a necessary sacrifice.

Moving forward, EVE Online pilots will find that they're going to have more options. That's not a one-off change; that's something that according to executive producer Andie Nordgren is a concerted effort from CCP -- something that will hopefully define the EVE Online experience from now on.

The two most evident examples at Fanfest 2015 were the announcements of untethered structures and a wealth of ship skins. The former is something that will greatly vary the gameplay in EVE Online, as starbases could previously only be built around moons. Now, that those can be positioned anywhere, it opens a world of possibilities for players.

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Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is out today, and it kicks the crap out of All the Bravest photo
Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is out today, and it kicks the crap out of All the Bravest
by Chris Carter

Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was a travesty. It played itself, it was pretty abrasive in its pandering, and the microtransactions were so pushy that it was hard to enjoy it without feeling like you were constantly being sold something.

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is another free-to-play game in the same vein, but it's a much better effort that doesn't feel straight-up insulting to fans.

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Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness photo
Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness
by Darren Nakamura

Telltale seems to be getting into the swing of things with Game of Thrones, in more ways than one. For starters, it only took seven weeks since the last episode for this one to come out. If Telltale can keep up that pace, the season should conclude this August.

More importantly, this is the first episode to really capture the essence of A Song of Ice and Fire. Where Iron From Ice was mostly setup and The Lost Lords felt a little like filler, The Sword in the Darkness finally starts to get the members of House Forrester moving toward something that feels like progress. The situation is still dismal, but faint flickers of light at the end are just now coming into focus.

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Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time photo
Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time
by Brett Makedonski

I just finished episode two of Life is Strange, and I've spiraled down a playlist of Ben Folds songs. Out of Time is Kate Marsh's story, but "Kate" is too cheerful; this tale isn't about daisies, dandelions, and butterflies. The weighty subject material is more in line with the hopelessness that defines "Carrying Cathy," but alas, that's a different name, although not far off.

That being said, Out of Time does what episode one couldn't: it makes the audience care about character arcs other than main protagonist Max's. After a Max-centric first chapter, it's the other citizens of Arcadia Bay who get a share of the spotlight. We're given some quiet moments with Chloe to begin to understand her struggle. We're introduced to Chloe's mother, who may be the most reasonable and believable character in Life is Strange. Andof course, we grieve with Kate as her entire world turns against her.

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How to find all of Bloodborne's hidden optional bosses photo
How to find all of Bloodborne's hidden optional bosses
by Chris Carter

[Update: I've located the hidden boss, with instructions below.]

Bloodborne is officially out, and I've already seen a lot of discussions brewing about the game. Some sentiments are positive, some are negative, but a great deal of people are just confused.

Although I have a quick tips guide to help you start out, a lot of readers and peers have been asking me about some of the game's harder-to-find optional bosses. I spent the day recording the processes involved in finding them, and you can see the results for most of them below.

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a bare-bones port of a fantastic game photo
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a bare-bones port of a fantastic game
by Chris Carter

Xenoblade Chronicles pretty much blew me away back in 2012. Fans had been clamoring for a localization for over two years, and due to an add partnership between Nintendo and GameStop, we got one. It was a rather limited release however and GameStop constantly jacked up the price over time, leading to a large number of fans who never got to experience it.

Hell, even today the Wii version goes from anywhere to $60 used to $100 new. That all changes in April with Xenoblade Chronicles 3DS, a $40 portable edition that will completely do away with the rarity of the experience.

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Final Fantasy XV is a Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus photo
Final Fantasy XV is a Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus
by Chris Carter

Hidden away in the intro to my Final Fantasy Type-0 HD review, I recently talked about how Final Fantasy was never dead despite some rough patches, and based on recent efforts, it actually has a bright future ahead of it. Ok so maybe that bit wasn't really hidden, and maybe it was more of a rant and less of a talk, but my point still stands: I'm happy with the direction the franchise has been going lately.

After spending a week with the Final Fantasy XV demo, I'm even happier.

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Very Quick Tips: Bloodborne photo
Very Quick Tips: Bloodborne
by Chris Carter

Bloodborne can get pretty rough at times. All Souls games can. To help you ease from the frustration to the fun zone, here are a few tips to help you on your way.

General non-spoiler tips will be frontloaded at the top, but the progression-spoiler ones will be in the second section. Note that no bosses or story elements are spoiled, just navigational tidbits in case you get lost.

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Review: Bloodborne photo
Review: Bloodborne
by Chris Carter

Hidetaka Miyazaki created a legacy with Demon's Souls. With three Armored Core games under his belt at From Software, Miyazaki dared to capture the spirit of the King's Field series for a new era, and thus the Souls series was born. His philosophy of "less is more" served as a driving force for the franchise's allure, and his influences permeate throughout.

In just six years we've seen four total games using the formula, and despite taking a step back for Dark Souls II, Miyazaki returns to the driver's seat with Bloodborne.

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I see a lot of classic Mario platforming design in Splatoon's campaign photo
I see a lot of classic Mario platforming design in Splatoon's campaign
by Chris Carter

While Splatoon's multiplayer was on display for all to see at E3 2014, the single-player campaign was fairly under wraps. We now know that it will be a completely separate affair from online play, complete with a full narrative and a colorful cast of characters to help you along your journey.

I had a chance to play through a handful of story levels at a recent event, and I'm happy to report that although it's a bit simplistic, I'm seeing flashes of tried and true Mario design peppered in.

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