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9:00 AM on 09.30.2014

Review: Chariot

Local cooperative play is something that's been increasingly neglected in an age of videogames that pushes online connectivity seemingly first and foremost. It's ironic that titles like Destiny are the current benchmark ...

Brett Makedonski


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Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
by Kyle MacGregor

It's still tough to believe a fighting game based on the Persona series exists, let alone is any good, but Persona 4 Arena certainly came as a pleasant surprise. Atlus and Arc System Works are two distinctive studios known for creating very different types of experiences, but somehow managed to meld their unique strengths into a stellar fusion.

It must have been a difficult task, trying to charm two disparate audiences at once, but the developers proved more than capable of surmounting the challenge. Now they've returned with a followup in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, hoping to make lightning strike twice.

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Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair photo
Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
by Brittany Vincent

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was an intelligent riff on the perils of high school -- you know, if you had thrown a murder mystery in between classes and the principal was a maniacal stuffed animal.

Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, takes a beleaguered trope and turns it on its head. This is one "trapped on a desert island" story that takes things to another level entirely.

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Review: Gauntlet photo
Review: Gauntlet
by Chris Carter

Many, many fun hours were spent playing Gauntlet with friends. As one of the most ingenous arcade games of all time, Gauntlet Legends had a really cool mechanic that allowed you to save your progress at the same machine -- warranting multiple trips to the same location just to play it. The fun continued on with the console version of the game, and even further into Dark Legacy, my personal favorite. 

Once Seven Sorrows hit in 2005 though my interest kind of waned -- it simply wasn't a very good game, and the lack of a distinct art style didn't help it stand out among the masses of dungeon crawlers that were emerging out of the console market. But in 2014, Arrowhead Studios has done right by the franchise, and is ready to usher in a whole new audience.

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Civilization: Beyond Earth makes weekends disappear photo
Civilization: Beyond Earth makes weekends disappear
by Darren Nakamura

The Civilization series is famous for playing out in unplanned marathon sessions, where "one more turn" quickly turns into five more turns, which turn into another hour, before the player finally looks away from the screen to see that it is starting to get light outside. Knowing this, I'm not sure what I was thinking starting the preview build of Civilization: Beyond Earth on a Friday night.

By the time I finished for that session, I had played for eight hours straight and it was then four in the morning. Then I went to sleep, woke up four hours later, and started playing again, eventually logging almost a full day's worth of play time in a single weekend.

Yes, this is still Civilization through and through, but there are some new concepts included that impact gameplay in significant ways. Though there are clear connections, Beyond Earth is far more than just a reskinning of Civilization V.

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Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS photo
Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
by Chris Carter

Super Smash Bros. and I go back a long way. When the first game was released in 1999, I didn't drive. Heck, I didn't even have a Nintendo 64 at that time. But I had a Smash Bros. addiction, and would spend hours upon hours at friends' houses, often staging sleepovers just so we could play more. It was probably the first game I ever put over a thousand hours into.

My Melee addiction was even worse. With wheels, I could drive to local tournaments and hone my craft. I had "training buddies" that I'd sit for hours and play with, trading new strategies along the way. I had groups who played all items on random levels, I had friends who played Final Destination no items only, and I had acquaintances who played a mix of both. However you shake it, Melee may be my most-played game of all time.

But when Brawl came out, a lot of the groups I had been playing with for all these years kind of fell off the map. They either continued to play Melee regardless, or just quit Smash entirely. It was an odd time seeing a franchise that I had enjoyed so much fall off like that in my personal circles, and from what I've seen over the past few years, I wasn't alone. It wasn't a bad game -- it just didn't set off that spark in me that 64 and Melee did before it.

Enter Smash 3DS. Not only has it rekindled my love for the series, but I have a feeling that once the Wii U version hits, living rooms will be smashing for hours all over again.

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Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor photo
Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
by Chris Carter

Developing a licensed game can be extremely difficult. Not only does Monolith Productions have the Lord of the Rings film series to honor with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, but the developer also has to work in many aspects of Tolkien's other works to weave together a story that calls from multiple sources.

In that regard Monolith has succeeded in creating something believable, but in the process, the game itself didn't receive as much attention.

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Review: Forza Horizon 2 photo
Review: Forza Horizon 2
by Brett Zeidler

The original Forza Horizon impressed us back in 2012 with its ability to incorporate what we already loved about Forza Motorsport into an absolutely massive open-world sandbox racing game, while not completely ditching its simulation roots and easing new players into an arcade-simulation racer hybrid. It also helped that the game was really nice to look at.

Playground Games and Turn 10 are back with Forza Horizon 2, and I am so glad they are.

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Review: NHL 15 photo
Review: NHL 15
by Brett Makedonski

With regard to sports games, the most important facet of any given title should always be the actual playing of the sport. That's how NHL 15 is. It mostly shines when you're on-ice, leading the charge through the neutral zone or lining up a bone-crushing hit on an unsuspecting forward. Damn EA for making me want to say this, but with NHL 15, when you're in the game, you're in the game.

But, if that's all that really matters, why's it impossible to overcome the feeling that its off-ice issues drag NHL 15 down like a player that just got viciously hooked from behind?

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Review: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed photo
Review: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed
by Brittany Vincent

When you're faced with imminent danger, what's the first thing you do? Do you gear up to fight back? Do you see if you can land the first punch? Or do you take all of your clothing off? I'm guessing that's a pretty uncommon reaction, though it's something you'll get used to seeing on a regular basis within Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed.

The otaku-come-Yakuza special is actually Akiba's Trip 2 in Japan, and it's the first time the series has reached Western audiences, who may or may not have been ready for its bizarre machinations. But for those who were willing and able to take the trip, what awaited them was a strange and colorful world full of plenty to do and discover.

Oh, and a whole lot of underwear. 

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Review: Wasteland 2 photo
Review: Wasteland 2
by Alasdair Duncan

[Disclosure: I backed the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and as such received an Early Access copy of the game.]

Wasteland 2 is one of the projects that saw success in the wake of Double Fine's Broken Age. Just a month after Tim Schafer's adventure game project blew past its funding goal, Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment also saw their Kickstarter pull in millions of dollars.

Despite the original Wasteland dating back to 1988, there were more than enough fans who wanted to see a sequel made. So Wasteland 2 exists in a strange position where the fans who remember the original played a very different game than the one that's been delivered in 2014.

While PC RPGs have changed a lot over the years, Wasteland 2 is still very old-school in a lot of ways -- some good, some bad -- and remains true to its intentions and origins.

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Assassin's Creed Unity's DLC will take you to China with a female protagonist photo
Assassin's Creed Unity's DLC will take you to China with a female protagonist
by Chris Carter

Ubisoft has unveiled the current DLC plans for Assassin's Creed Unity by way of their Season Pass, and it's a doozy.

Firstly, you'll be getting a new story campaign that takes place after Unity. It deals with a set of underground crypts. You'll also get more missions in Paris, as well as 30 pieces of equipment.

But the biggest part is arguably the last bit of content -- Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China. It's a stand-alone story that lets you deal with a completely new setting with 2.5D gameplay. You'll climb and tumble on the Great Wall of China as you complete missions for the Assassins of the Chinese Brotherhood. It will also feature a female protagonist named Shao Jun, from Assassin's Creed: Embers.

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PlayStation TV launches in North America next month photo
PlayStation TV launches in North America next month
by Kyle MacGregor

PlayStation TV launches across North America starting October 14, Sony announced today.

The new set-top box plays a selection of Vita games, PSP titles, PS One Classics, PS3 games via PlayStation Now, and can stream PS4 content via Remote Play.

PS TV will be available standalone for $100 or as part of a $140 bundle, including an 8GB memory card, The LEGO Movie Videogame and a DualShock 3 controller. It comes with 1GB of built-in storage out of the box, meaning that while a pricey memory card isn't necessarily required, folks won't be able to get too far without one.

The device will launch in Europe one month later, crossing the pond on November 14. There, the device will retail for £85/€100 and include a voucher for three digital Vita games: Worms Revolution Extreme, Velocity Ultra and OlliOlli.

While the PS TV will support nearly 700 titles available at launch, it doesn't play everything. You can check out the full list of compatible Vita games right here.

PlayStation TV: Release date, price and full list of compatible games [PS Blog EU, PS Blog]

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A quick guide to all four Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skill trees photo
A quick guide to all four Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skill trees
by Darren Nakamura

In case you have not yet heard, the full, interactive skill trees for all four of the Vault Hunters in the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel have been released for public consumption.

Some of the mathematics governing the skill trees has been tweaked for the Pre-Sequel, so in contrast with Borderlands 2, these new Vault Hunters will be able to reach the end of two of their three skill trees before hitting the initial level cap of 50.

Most people looking forward to the title had already decided on which character to main, but now we can all make more educated decisions. In my case, I am sure I will eventually play them all. So after reading every skill carefully, imagining how it will all play out on the battlefield, and spending far too much time tweaking skill points, I have come up with proposed builds for how I expect to play each of the new characters.

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2 raises more questions than answers photo
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 raises more questions than answers
by Brett Makedonski

My time with Resident Evil: Revelations 2 at Tokyo Game Show was brief -- maybe 20 minutes if we're being generous. Swiftly dumped into the beginning of the game, I was left to try to unravel the mystery of what exactly was happening, an inquiry that went unsolved. It was predictable, though. There's a lot of story to tell over Revelations 2's month-long release of four installments in early 2015; they're not going to clue me in right from the get-go.

What I do know is that I woke up in a jail cell as Claire Redfield, the action protagonist of Revelations 2. She handles all the shooty/stabby parts, and her cohort Moira Burton handles all the investigation bits. Moira was similarly imprisoned close by, until I used Claire to free her. From then on, the two could be switched on-the-fly with a simple press of a button.

Seeing as it was the beginning of the game, this is where Revelations 2 did its best to acclimate players with the simpler mechanics. Here's a knife, stab stuff with it; here's a gun, it's used for shooting bad people. That sort of thing. After teaching me how to push shelving, a zombie burst through the other side, imploring me to punch him with my knife in his big dumb face.

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Review: D4: Dark Dreams Donít Die (Prologue, Episode 1, Episode 2) photo
Review: D4: Dark Dreams Donít Die (Prologue, Episode 1, Episode 2)
by Chris Carter

D4 starts off rather grounded. The game's opening narration describes the tale as a "story of a man with a very strange fate." A man whose wife was murdered, and is tirelessly searching for her killer.

Then a cat girl named Amanda runs into your apartment, spits a mouse into your mouth, and you puke.

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