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Review: The Evil Within photo
Review: The Evil Within
by Chris Carter

I grew up happily playing Shinji Mikami's games, and he's probably one of the most influential directors/producers that ever lived. I remember the first time I played Resident Evil, the day I bought Devil May Cry from EB Games, and the exact moment when my friend showed me God Hand.

All in all Mikami has worked on over 20 major games that have impacted the industry in some way. Even if The Evil Within is one of the worst in the bunch, it's still in good company.

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Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now? photo
Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now?
by Dale North

I like to be scared. I'm not some kind of dark-obsessed weirdo, though. I just really enjoy the feeling of being tense or terrified, so much so that I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Maybe there is.

A few years back, after a nearly year-long kick of reading freaky books, watching horror movies, and replaying some of my favorite survival horror videogames, I decided to do some digging into why I like to be scared. It turns out that the typical reasons are fairly tame; some folks like the huge pile of satisfaction feels they get from being able to work through tense or scary moments. It's a break. An escape. Something new and different. 

Being armed with the knowledge behind these feelings out doesn't change that I'm still drawn to them. And I've found that survival horror games are still the best way to get that high. I regularly replay the classics. I chomp at the bit for new ones and devour them when they're finally released. I'm hooked.

But I'm starting to feel a bit old-fashioned in my love of these games.

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Some of us are controller throwers around here photo
Some of us are controller throwers around here
by Brett Makedonski

We've all been there before -- a maddeningly difficult part of a videogame; you've been trying for hours to best it. You just can't. Maybe you never will. This might be impossible, actually. The developers must've been complete sadists to even include this. Bastards.

Then, like magic, the stars align for what looks to be one glorious run to put an end to this tedium. This is it! This is the one!

No, it's not. You've come up short yet again. There are two ways to deal with abject failure of this magnitude -- calmly deal with it in a rational manner like an adult, or smash the closest thing to you. Some of us resort to the latter.

[Image]

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Far Cry 4 features a more dynamic and vibrant open world photo
Far Cry 4 features a more dynamic and vibrant open world
by Alessandro Fillari

Back in 2012, Far Cry 3 turned out to be a surprise hit for Ubisoft. It became the bestselling title of the series, appearing on many game of the year lists, and also created a rather excellent spin-off title. But with the announcement of Far Cry 4 back in May, many fans were pretty psyched to have a new game exploring another exotic locale, but also surprised to see something come so quickly.

With the reveal and release happening within six months of one another, it all seems like it has been going too quickly, and we've never really had the opportunity to digest something substantial for the game. Thankfully, Ubisoft agreed and allowed some extended hands-on time with the upcoming open-world shooter. After experiencing some time with the game's open-world, I can say that November is certainly going to be interesting month with this title coming to market.

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Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire let you soar the skies & do the creep photo
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire let you soar the skies & do the creep
by Steven Hansen

It is challenging to fit "Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire" into a headline. It wasn't hard fitting these 3D updates of the Game Boy Advance classics on the 3DS, though. It was hard making a clean segue from my meta commentary on headline economy. 

And speaking of economy—god I'm good at thisthe new Ruby and Sapphire return to the humble Hoenn region with your player character bouncing into town in the back of a moving van. This is dangerous, by the way. Always Sunny in Philadelphia showed this. Not that we should expect stellar parenting in a world where pre-teens are globe trotting dog fighters. 

What is stellar is the transition to 3D, despite the departure from X and Y's upper-crust hometown and my general preference for the second dimension over the third. It looks as nice as the previous 3DS outing, maybe a bit smoother. The level of detail also let me realize that the rival, Brendan, is actually wearing a goofy white hat. He doesn't just have spiked white hair. I won't give him guff for the hat, but "Brendan?" Brandon, Brendon, Brandan, Brando. I thought "Steven Hansen" was a nuisance to spell what with first and last name having common alternate spellings.

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Review: Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus photo
Review: Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus
by Brittany Vincent

In the world of Senran Kagura, excess is the rule. The outfits are skimpy, the plot threads are ludicrous, and the breasts are laughably large, so huge in fact that you wonder how the skimpy bras the girls are eventually stripped down to are actually wrangling those things.

But beneath a veneer of silliness and near-parodical levels of fan service lies a brawler with plenty of hack and slash goodness to offer.

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Bored of the things: Shadow of Mordor should've been a dating sim photo
Bored of the things: Shadow of Mordor should've been a dating sim
by Steven Hansen

I was reading Weird Dad Andy Astruc's loving look at Shadow of Mordor's menus, which is basically praise for Mordor's Nemesis system. The same system left our own Nic Rowen giddy and, uh, shitfaced. Nemesis' mechanics, with its ironed out Final Fantasy XII target lines and mind control induced revolt, ties neatly into Mordor's story as you set about rounding up an army and organizing a coup d'état. 

And playing insurrectionist is fun. It's fun for the personal stories that can come of it, like Nic's. It's fun for the neatly designed system that makes you feel grand orchestrator parallel to individual acts of [Peter Frampton talk box voice] assuming direct control. But then you leave that cool little laser sight trisected screen and have to Assassin's Creed yourself over to the next random bit of Middle-earth, Red Dead some local fauna along the way, and then Batman counter a bunch of uggos. Because, as Chris Carter noted in his review, the Nemesis mechanic is the only original bit in an otherwise standardized, cannibalized game. 

Yes; slick, competently made. Maybe even fun. But still cannibalized, standardized. 

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Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel photo
Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
by Darren Nakamura

[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, one of the writers for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I can imagine that mantra circulating the 2K Australia office as the team worked on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Gearbox had a huge hit on its hands with Borderlands 2, and there is not much reason to mess with a winning formula.

To be clear, a lot of what matters is new. The story, playable characters, environments, dialogue, and physics are all new. Despite that, it all feels very familiar. Where a number of core systems were significantly upgraded between the first and second games in the series, The Pre-Sequel's additions are much less pronounced.

One odd aspect of some of the new content that this entry brings to the vault hunting universe is that it feels more like Borderlands than Borderlands 2 in some ways, for better and for worse.

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Review: Bayonetta 2 photo
Review: Bayonetta 2
by Chris Carter

Outside of Devil May Cry 3, Bayonetta is one of the finest action games of all time. The action systems were so clean, so precise, and so rewarding that it leaves pretty much everything these days in the dust.

Bayonetta 2 doesn't change a whole lot, and that's perfectly okay with me.

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I got the robot because you were too slowbot: I have dibs on Claptrap photo
I got the robot because you were too slowbot: I have dibs on Claptrap
by Brett Makedonski

It's really not all that long until Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out, and you've already made a grave mistake. You didn't call dibs on Claptrap. Know how I know that? Because I'm writing this post right now. If you called dibs, I'd be doing something dumb like whatever dumb thing you're doing in your dumb life this very second.

But you didn't. I did. For whatever reason, my peers have laid claim to the three characters in the game not worth fighting over. Darren misguidedly called Athena, Chris dun goofed by picking Wilhelm, and Abel most likely got comedically knocked upside the head by a two-by-four just prior to choosing Nisha. Let them; their poor judgment will be their undoing. I have dibs on Claptrap.

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To any Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel players out there: I have dibs on Athena photo
To any Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel players out there: I have dibs on Athena
by Darren Nakamura

Two years ago, Chris, Tara, Conrad, and Andy each called dibs on a Vault Hunter for Borderlands 2 before I ever could, and so I was never able to play it. All I could do was sit there looking at my copy, wishing I had called dibs first. I will not make that same mistake twice.

I have dibs on Athena. Simply put, Athena is the best. Don't worry, there are three other perfectly okay Vault Hunters for you to choose from. You should be all right, I guess. Anyway, here's why Athena is the best and I call dibs on her.

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I went on another adventure in Rust and everyone just kept killing me photo
I went on another adventure in Rust and everyone just kept killing me
by Jordan Devore

A lot has changed in the months since I last checked in with Rust, Facepunch's multiplayer survival sandbox on Steam Early Access, but much of the brutal experience remains the same.

The so-called reboot has become the default choice when launching the game on Steam, while the original version -- which remains playable, I should add -- is now marked as "legacy."

There's still plenty of humorous unfinished technical stuff, to be sure, but it's coming along.

(Warning: tons of pictures ahead and some of them show butts!)

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The game trailers with the most feels photo
The game trailers with the most feels
by Dale North

I'm easy. And I think you are, too. Those debut game trailers get me every time. It usually goes like this:

Stirring, slow beds of strings and woodwinds underlay a dramatic shot; an extreme closeup of some unknown character. Or, maybe a well-known one. Just the eyeball, or just the face. Pan out. Wide, lush landscapes that take the breath away. Maybe sunny and bright. Maybe foggy and mysterious. The music increases in tempo and loudness. Quick cuts! Sword slashes. All-white flashes. Strings crescendo as they build via agiato. The heart rate quickens. Fast. Faster! Then, boom. Quiet. Black screen. Some sounds, or maybe some dialogue. Slow, slow text. Subwoofers do something. Fade...

Logo. 

[breathlessness]

AAAAAH!

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Review: Neverending Nightmares photo
Review: Neverending Nightmares
by Nic Rowen

Mental illness is terrifying. Depression is a soul vampire that will suck the light right out of you. Obsessive compulsive disorder does not make you a supernaturally great detective like it does in the movies. It makes you paranoid and agitated, a raw nerve constantly scraping against a coarse world. The insidious, pervasive terror of mental illness can be far more horrifying than any chainsaw-wielding maniac could ever hope to be.

Which is exactly why Neverending Nightmares works.

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I have a problem and its name is Clicker Heroes photo
I have a problem and its name is Clicker Heroes
by Jordan Devore

They did it. Someone finally made an "idle game" that stuck with me and now here I am, almost two weeks later, still obsessing. Clicker Heroes has succeeded where Cookie Clicker failed.

Granted, it's the same basic premise: click on some things to accrue currency, then spend it on upgrades to make the money flow faster. It does not stop, not even when you close your browser because, shortly into playing, you'll no longer need to actively click. But you will anyway.

Clicker Heroes is progress for the sake of progress. But knowing that -- realizing you're not having "fun" -- doesn't matter. Any feelings of regret that begin to bubble up over wasted time spent playing this silly game when you could be doing literally anything else will be overpowered by how good it feels to buy that new upgrade, or beat a certain boss who's giving you trouble.

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Review: Skylanders: Trap Team photo
Review: Skylanders: Trap Team
by Chris Carter

Toys For Bob has found some rather interesting ways to evolve the Skylanders franchise. While the conceit the first time around was simply interactive toys, the developer mixed things up with giants on the second go, and with a mix-and-match concept (my personal favorite to date) after that.

Trap Team is the fourth iteration of the series, and the gimmick this time around involves tiny plastic pieces that essentially function as little Ghostbusters tools to ensnare enemies. While the core game is still as strong as ever, the trap mechanic isn't all that exciting.

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