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Popular fantasy betting site moves into eSports

Surely this can only turn out well
Sep 18
// Ben Pack
Popular podcast advertiser and fantasy sports betting service DraftKings introduced a new feature to let fans bet on eSports. The company, which is projected to give away $1 billion in prize money this year, released a video ...

Review: Circa Infinity

Sep 09 // Ben Pack
Circa Infinity (Mac, PC [reviewed]) Developer: Kenny Sun Publisher: Kenny Sun Released: September 9, 2015 MSRP: $9.99 The game is so simple there's no tutorial. You play as two nameless characters who must traverse through a seemingly endless corridor of black and white circles while avoiding any red demons that cross their path. The whole aesthetic can be summed up by the question "What if they made a game based on the animation that plays when you enter the TV world in Persona 4?" You can move the character left and right, and hit the action button to either dip down or jump up, depending on what color circle you are in.  Infinity consists of 50 levels split up into five sections. These all do a great job of slowly introducing new mechanics and folding them back into existing challenges. Each section feels distinct, not dissimilar to Braid. The earliest levels teach you the basics of how to dodge enemies, then section two introduces challenges like enemies that will only move when you do.  Sections end with boss fights, which do a great job of wrapping up the lesson of each stage while supplying a completely new gameplay experience. These are the only areas that feel like having a bit of a tutorial might be good, but you can still manage to figure out their secrets without too much worry. The game also features a speedrun mode for those who want to master the stages. As you would expect, things get incredibly difficult. The hardest part of Circa Infinity is keeping track of which direction you are moving in since left and right don't really mean anything when you're running around a circle. This doesn't help that the game itself may make you dizzy. You die if you touch an enemy, but it only sends you back one circle. It's very easy to get frustrated and get sent back several circles, but there are also checkpoints before particularly hard sequences. Outside of a few boss moments, it never feels unfair. The music fits well. It keeps you in a trance-like state. Each section features a different song, as well as unique boss music. The main problem with the soundtrack is that it loops fairly often, which can add to the exhaustion if you're having trouble with a particular level and are spending upwards of an hour on a section. If you can get past the fact that this is another indie puzzle platformer with a simplistic art style, Circa Infinity is well worth the cost. Brilliant level design and a great aesthetic keep the game fresh from start to finish. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Ascendant (PC, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Hapa GamesPublisher: Hapa GamesRelease Date: May 13, 2014 (PC) / September 8, 2015 (PS4)MSRP: $9.99
Circa Infinity review photo
'Circle Infinity'
Circa Infinity is a trip, as the game is about as simple as it gets. There are three buttons, mostly three colors, and every level is just a circle. But as you start to dig deeper, and the mechanics evolve, Circa Infinity reveals itself as a brilliant puzzle platformer.

Street Fighter V photo
Street Fighter V

Street Fighter V launches beta tests in North and South America this week

Final batch of tests before global beta
Aug 24
// Ben Pack
Following a series of successful stress tests in Europe and Asia, Capcom announced today that Street Fighter V beta stress tests will begin for North and South America. The tests start Tuesday, August 24 from 4:00pm - midnigh...
Street Fighter V beta photo
Street Fighter V beta

Street Fighter V beta re-launches with a series of stress tests

Capcom gathering data on each region
Aug 20
// Ben Pack
Capcom is taking its first steps toward launching a global beta test for Street Fighter V today after the failed tests last month. In a post on the Capcom Unity blog, the company announced it is going to start with a str...

Guilty Gear Xrd photo
Guilty Gear Xrd

Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- debuts in August with playable Jam Kuradoberi

Heaven or hell? Maybe we'll finally know
Aug 15
// Ben Pack
Right before the conclusion of the Arc Revolution Cup 2015, Arc System Works decided to drop a bomb on everyone watching the Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- tournament. The studio announced the follow-up to the current version of...
Capcom Cup photo
Capcom Cup

Capcom Cup 2015 taking place at PlayStation Experience

Street Fighter champion to be crowned
Aug 14
// Ben Pack
Capcom Cup 2015, the culmination of the Capcom Pro Tour series of tournaments, will be hosted by Sony at its PlayStation Experience event. The Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament will take place Sunday, December 6 at the Mosco...
Super Smash Con photo
Super Smash Con

Results from the Super Smash Con tournament

Everything from N64 to Wii U
Aug 09
// Ben Pack
[Image via John Michaels] The inaugural Super Smash Con, a three-day event for all things Smash Bros., concluded today. The gathering included everything from panels and exhibits to a series of tournaments of all of the Smash Bros. games featuring high-level players.
Dota 2 championship photo
Dota 2 championship

The International 5 concludes and a new Dota 2 champ is crowned

The six-day Dota tournament is over
Aug 08
// Ben Pack
After six games of some of the best Dota play, Evil Geniuses has earned the title of best Dota 2 team in the world. Along with the title, the American team took home a payout of $6,616,014. The team, with an age ranging ...
Dota 2 tournament photo
Dota 2 tournament

Dota 2's The International 5 finals are tomorrow, here's what you need to know

Three teams remain competing for first
Aug 07
// Ben Pack
The International 5 is coming to a close tomorrow. The three remaining teams in the Dota 2 world championships are each guaranteed at least $2 million dollars.
Dota 2 12v12 photo
Dota 2 12v12

Valve announces 24-player Dota matches, and it's as crazy as it sounds

10v10 showed off at TI5 all star game
Aug 07
// Ben Pack
The was major buzz surrounding this year's all star match at The International 5. Aside from pitting the best Dota players in the world against each other, there has been a history of major announcements at the match. Last ye...
The International photo
The International

Dota 2's The International 5 is halfway through, here's who is in the running

Millions of dollars still on the line
Aug 05
// Ben Pack
After three full days of Dota 2 matches, The International 5 -- the highest-paying eSports event ever -- is fifty percent completed. With $18 million dollars on the line, eight teams of five are still in contention for the title of "best Dota 2 team in the world."
The International photo
The International

The International 5, the largest eSports event ever, begins Monday

Almost 18 million dollars on the line
Aug 02
// Ben Pack
The International 5, Dota 2's largest tournament of all time, kicks off this Monday with two matches. With a prize pool of $17.8 million dollars on the line, TI5 will no doubt offer the highest level of eSports entertainment....
League of Legends photo
League of Legends

Pro League of Legends team goes undefeated

Sets new record by going 18-0 in LCS
Jul 26
// Ben Pack
Following its victory at League of Legends Championship Series, professional eSports team Fnatic is celebrating not only a successful regular season, but a historic achievement. The group managed to do something no other...

EVO 2015 is over, here's how it ended

Jul 20 // Ben Pack
Ultra Street Fighter IV Juri, Decapre, Adon, Rolento, and Abel were just five of the 12 different characters represented in the top eight for Ultra Street Fighter IV. The huge character variety was surpassed only by the quality of play demonstrated by this international forum of competitors. Infiltration going into winners showed off an amazing roster of characters, but it ultimately did not mean much as he would lose to Momochi. Meanwhile, GamerBee managed to claw through losers bracket, beating Infiltration in losers finals. Grand finals came down to a reset, and eventually in the last game a technical mishap lead to each of the contenders having one round each with Momochi clutching it out in the end. Top 8 1. EG|Momochi [Ken/ Evil Ryu]2. AvM|GamerBee [Elena / Adon]3. Infiltration [Evil Ryu / Chun-Li / Abel / Decapre / Elena / Juri]4. BE|Nemo (Rolento)5. /r/Kappa|AiAi [Juri]5. MCZ|Tokido [Akuma]7. EG|PR Balrog [Balrog]7. Liquid|NuckleDu [Decapre, Guile] Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Marvel has always been considered America's game. Since MvC 3's EVO debut in 2011, there have only ever been two non-Americans in top eight. That's why it was such a shocker to have only three Americans in the competition today. Favorites including Justin Wong, Chris G, Filipino Champ, and Flocker were nowhere to be seen as the foreign legion attempted to lay waste to America three characters at a time. It came down to grand finals between Chile's own BE|KaneBlueRiver [Hulk / Haggar / Sentinel] versus New York native CTRL|RayRay [Magneto / Dr. Doom / Sentinel], with KBR taking it. Top 8 1. BE|KaneBlueRiver [Hulk / Sentinel / Haggar]2. CTRL|RayRay [Magneto / Dr. Doom / Sentinel]3. ApologyMan [Firebrand / Dr. Doom / Super-Skrull4. TA|Frutsy [M.O.D.O.K., / Captain America / Dr. Doom]5. YKWIS|GoldenBoyNeo [Magneto / Dr. Doom / Phoenix]5. TMP|Cross [Zero / Dr. Strange / Dante]7. T3|Dizzy [Zero / Dr. Doom, Vergil[7. R.F. [Morrigan / Dr. Doom, Vergil] Super Smash Bros. Melee Some dreams were born while others were dashed in the Melee top eight. C9 Mang0 failed to take his third EVO trophy home, but the real shocker was Florida's PG|Plup claiming fourth, beating TSM|Leffen, the possible favorite to win the entire competition. The always-solid Alliance|Armada managed to take home the gold pretty convincingly, dropping almost no sets throughout the entire tournament. Top 8 1. Alliance|Armada [Fox / Peach]2. Liquid|Hungrybox [Jigglypuff]3. EG|PPMD [Marth / Falco]4. PG|Plup [Sheik / Samus]5. TSM|Leffen [Fox]5. C9|Mango [Fox / Falco]7. Tempo|Axe [Pikachu]7. MH|ChuDat [Ice Climbers] Mortal Kombat X Even though several upsets preceded the top eight for Mortal Kombat, spirits were generally high. While ninjas were crushing each others skulls on the screen, players were hugging it out on stage. cR|SonicFox managed to pull an amazing run through the losers bracket with Erron Black and Kitana and managed to reset grand finals against Foxy Grandpa's dominant Kung Lao, leading to a victory for the 17-year-old Sonic. Top 8 1. cR|SonicFox [Erron Black / Kitana]2. PND|A Foxy Grandpa [Kung Lao]3. cR|HoneyBee [D'Vorah]4. YOMI|MIT [Tanya, Sonya Blade]5. PND|Ketchup [Quan Chi]5. YOMI|DJT [Kung Lao]7. JLA|MilkySituation [Reptile]7. YOMI|Zyphox [Liu Kang] Guilty Gear: Xrd -SIGN- Starting at the designated anime time slot of 9am, Guilty Gear had a very important job of hyping up any attending early-birds. It did not disappoint, and while there were plenty of heartbreaks, there was some serious competition the entire way through. Ogawa managed to show off why people consider Zato to be the best character by taking the tournament over ODG|Nage's Faust.  Top 8 1. Ogawa [Zato]2. ODG|Nage [Faust]3. Woshige [Millia]4. Nakamura [Millia]5. Dogura [Sin]5. Rion [Ky]7. Syuuto [Axl]7. Zidane [Leo] EVO 2015 day 1 wrap up EVO 2015 day 2 wrap up Street Fighter V new character announcement Guilty Gear Xrd player stands up too early, loses Jamie Lee Curtis cosplayed as Vega at EVO Street Fighter V DLC can be unlocked for free EVO attendee steals PS Vita dev kit from Atlus 
EVO recap photo
Street Fighter, Marvel, Melee, and more
The final day of Evolution 2015 has concluded, and we are left with a slew of new champions. There were upsets and heart-breakers, but most importantly hundreds of hours of the highest-level fighting games. Games featured today were Ultra Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mortal Kombat X, and Guilty Gear: Xrd -SIGN-.

EVO day 2 photo
EVO day 2

EVO 2015 Day 2: Here's everything that happened

Tekken, Smash 4, and KI finals conclude
Jul 19
// Ben Pack
The second day of EVO 2015, the world's largest fighting game tournament, has come to a close, and champions for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Tekken 7, and Killer Instinct have been crowned.
The International photo
The International

Dota 2 launches The International 5 website

Largest prize pool ever for first place
Jul 18
// Ben Pack
As announced on the Dota 2 blog, the official website for The International 5 has launched. TI5's website showcases prize pool breakdowns, the teams that will be competing, replays, and a link to the web store....
EVO 2015 photo
EVO 2015

Everything that happened day one of EVO 2015

Ultra Street Fighter and Persona 4A
Jul 18
// Ben Pack
Evolution 2015, the largest fighting game tournament of the year, did not disappoint on day one. But with two more whole days of high octane action, things are only going to get more intense as they go along. 
EVO guide photo
EVO guide

EVO 2015 schedule

Your guide to fighting game goodness
Jul 12
// Ben Pack
Evolution, the world's largest fighting game tournament, kicks off July 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. But fear not if you couldn't make it out to sin city, as the entire weekend of the highest-level fighting game footage will be a...
eSports photo

DreamHack is coming stateside

And it's a pretty big deal
Jul 12
// Ben Pack
The "world's largest LAN party" is coming stateside. DreamHack, founded in 1992, was established as a festival for online gaming fans to gather with their own computers. But since then it has also become a powerhouse in the e...

Review: Tappingo 2

Oct 03 // Ben Pack
Tappingo 2 (3DS eShop)Developer: Goodbye Galaxy GamesPublisher: Goodbye Galaxy GamesReleased: September 4, 2014MSRP: $2.99 Tappingo takes the idea of Picross and flips it. Instead of a grid with numbers representing how many spots should be filled in, it presents a picture that is almost finished and several blocks with numbers on them. Players then drag the numbers in any direction, so long as it fills up that many more blocks next to it. It's a simple idea that you will pick up the nuances of in the first few puzzles. Each of the pictures are small pixel-art representations of real-world objects, such as a penguin or a "popular gaming console." There are over one hundred stages, each with varying difficulty. As you figure out the solution to the puzzle, the blank squares are filled in One of the biggest hurdles to get through is the fact that unlike Picross, you want to solve as much of the puzzle in your head as you can rather than figuring it out as you go, because one false move can throw off your entire flow. The problem is that once you master the core concepts, the middle dozens of levels feel like just a grind to get through. Fortunately, by the end, the levels really ramp up in difficulty and take some serious thought. [embed]282053:55847:0[/embed] The game offers completely new puzzles from the first as well as a feature to zoom in on larger, harder puzzles at the end. It would be nice if you didn’t have to zoom and maneuver at all, but this is a good solution to that problem. The presentation itself is very basic. The music is easily forgettable, and the menus lack in key design areas such as having to scroll through several pages to get to where you just were. Also unfortunate is the fact that Tappingo 2 requires a stylus, as you cannot use buttons to interact with the bottom screen which you are putting moves into. Still, my biggest complaint is the length. I don’t know what I was expecting at this price point, but I completed the game in just under three hours. Tappingo 2 is a solid choice if you are looking for a way to kill a few hours and you have run out of other puzzle game options. I would have rather had fewer, more challenging levels overall but for $2.99 it might be worth the money.
Tappingo 2 review photo
Oh, I get it, tap and go
As someone who has gone through several Picross apps on his iPhone, I was excited to hear about Tappingo 2, a puzzler for the 3DS in the same vein. Maybe this would be the perfect game for my long train rides.

Review: Lethal League

Aug 25 // Ben Pack
Lethal League (PC)Developer: Team ReptilePublisher: Team ReptileRelease: August 27, 2014 MSRP: $13.99 At this point, many people’s first exposure to Lethal League was in 2013 as a flash game. I first saw it as the final event of the UFGT9 (a popular fighting game tournament) Mystery Game Tournament. Since then, developer Team Reptile announced it would release a more fleshed-out version of the game on Steam in 2014 which has since been shown off at many exhibitions and tournaments, including EVO's Indie Game Showcase. The core of the game is simple -- hit the baseball into your opponent. You face off in a small rectangular arena, and the ball will bounce around until it hits the player other than the player who last hit it. You cannot directly attack them, but rather your attack swings your bat (or, depending on the character, your cane, tail, hammer, or skateboard) so that you can hit the ball, regain control of it, and hope it hits the other person before they make contact with it again. You can also bunt the ball to slow it down temporarily. If you can do these things, you can have a lot of fun with Lethal League. The trick is, however, that this game is far more deep than it initially seems. [embed]280122:55428:0[/embed] Hitting the ball regularly back and forth very slowly builds the speed of the ball, which starts around 10 miles per hour. The only way to really get the velocity going is by jumping in the air and hitting it with a down swing, doubling the speed. League is at its most fun when the ball is going in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of miles per hour. There are five different characters to choose from (the developer states they plan on releasing more for free), all with their own movements, angles when hitting the ball, and move properties. Characters vary from Raptor, the “Shotokan-like” character who is decent at everything, to characters like Candyman -- an eccentric masked figure who relies on using trickery to defeat his opponents. Each character also has their own special attack, which you can unleash after hitting the ball a few times. I could go on about all the little features like clashing, clash baiting, and meter control that make this game incredibly deep, but the best part is even at the most basic level it’s just a fun game to play. It's an amazing love letter to fighting games, even with a Guilty Gear “Heaven or Hell Let’s Rock”-esque introduction to the rounds, but it doesn’t require the levels of memorization or mastery of input of an actual fighting game. It’s much more akin to a game like Towerfall or Samurai Gunn in that respect. While at EVO I played the game for a few hours with a crowd of people that grew and grew as the day went on. Everyone had to see why we were all getting so hype for this baseball game, but they quickly joined us in the fun. Lethal League can be played multiple ways. Up to four people can play at once, so along with your 1v1s you can also play free-for-alls, or team-based games. It also features online play via GGPO, a popular online service designed specifically for fighting games, such as the recent re-release of Street Fighter 3rd Strike. The only online mode is currently a quick match sort of set up where you can invite friends to play. It would have been nice if there were more options, such as ranked matchmaking and an online leaderboard. The game plays smoothly, for the most part, but all of my testing was with other people in the same region. There is a single-player challenge mode, which is quite difficult and I’ve only managed to beat most of the way through. In fighting games, playing against the computer is often just “how many times is this bot programmed to let me hit it,” and the harder difficulty levels in this game suffer from that greatly. One of the best features though is the music. Each of the six stages has its own “bangin” track, which vary widely. The HUD of the game is presented on a boombox which also displays the track title and artist of each of the songs, which are all not widely-known DJs. The music is supremely catchy, and even the menu theme will stick with you long after playing. There is controller support, as well as mouse and keyboard. This game can be played on pretty much any USB device with controls, and performs very well on fightsticks. There is, however, a little bit of jankiness with the menus while using a controller, but none of that persists in the game. Aside from lacking robust online options and a few clunky menus, Lethal League is an amazing package. It’s my personal favorite of the revival of couch co-op games, and may be my favorite “tell a friend” game of all time. I know I’ll be spreading the word, and maybe even one day we will be watching streams of high-level League play. Team Reptile really hit it out of the park with this one.
Lethal League review photo
Play ball!
I’ve tried to explain Lethal League to a lot of people. I've found that the best way to describe it is “If Mario Tennis and Smash Bros. had a baby, and it was raised by European DJs who love baseball.” Now if that doesn’t sound interesting to you I don’t know what would.

Review: EA Sports UFC

Jun 19 // Ben Pack
EA Sports UFC (PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 This is the biggest MMA game release since EA Sports MMA in 2010. The game features a roster of 97 UFC fighters, as well as two DLC characters: former UFC superstar Royce Gracie, and Bruce Lee. The first time you start, it presents you with an 18-step tutorial which shows you how to do everything from throwing punches on your feet to breaking submission holds on the ground. Unfortunately, right after the tutorial, you are presented with your first fight. I hesitate to use the word fight, however, as the opponent had knocked me out within 30 seconds. Not a submission tap out, or a win by decision, just a cold hard knockout. The tutorial at the beginning is both too dense and not specific enough. It is too dense as it presents you with several options on how to win, but if you forget the specifics of one you are out of luck. If you want to be refreshed on, say, how to start a submission hold while you are on top of your opponent, you may think to access the player handbook from the pause menu. However, when you select this, you are just prompted to visit the EA Sports website for a digital version of the guide. Pressing start to look at your controls is something that has been in not only fighting, but boxing games for years and it could have really benefited UFC. There are also dozens of moves you can use at any time which can be very overwhelming. Each punch or kick (controlled by the four face buttons) can be modified by holding any direction or a shoulder button, and are different depending on if you are holding your opponent or not. It's not unlike in a fighting game, where without playing around with one fighter for hours you will not know which move to use in which situation. Unlike fighting games, however, there is no accounting for frames or combos you need to practice, so a lot of the time you will find yourself in a situation where you and your opponent both try to punch each other and both awkwardly miss. There is also a minigame when trying to put your opponent in a submission hold that is fun when it is two human players who understand it, but incredibly easy to manipulate against the AI, leading to easy wins. [embed]276769:54505:0[/embed] When you're on the ground after getting pummeled, you really start to notice how beautiful this game is. Everything from the glistening sweat dripping down characters, to the detail of the muscle -- this game is beautiful. UFC really shows off the power of the current-gen consoles. I think it's the best-looking sports games out today, and definitely high on the list of all games. The career mode does a much better job at teaching you how to play than the tutorial. I would suggest starting it immediately after you get beat up by the AI for the first time. You can choose one of the game's fighters or your own and take it into a simulation of one man's rise from nothingness to Spike TV celebrity. Before your first fight, you get a more detailed version of the tutorial which breaks things down into simpler, repeated commands that you have to master if you want to stand a chance. There are also frequent FMV cutscenes from UFC president Dana White, which is really goes at odds with the game because it looks so good, but obviously not as good when you're just seeing video of the humans the simulation is trying to emulate. The character creation process in UFC goes above what you would come to expect. You can make everything from the typical scary-looking UFC dude who unironically wears Tap-Out clothing and walks into the ring to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons to a dreadlocked giant with the same chicken tattoo seven times named Turducken Hammerfist. It has stat manipulation like other EA Sports games, with attributes based on a style of fighting you can select like boxing or greco-roman wrestling. It also has a sort of perk system where you can have three different loadouts for your character, and different abilities based on standing offense, ground game, or defense that you can set up and choose before a fight based on your opponent. After completing a career mode, the versus mode is where you will be spending most of your time offline. The way it operates is smooth and easy, and great for both MMA fans who want to see their favorite athletes duke it out to fans of the game who want to test specific matchups. The online is completely functional, and presented a mostly lag-free experience for me. EA Sports UFC is an odd package. It might be too deep for fans of MMA to get into, and not cohesive enough for fans of fighting or boxing games to get into. Walking away from the game, I have no desire to go watch an MMA fight anytime soon, but I am not turned off from it completely. I can understand why it is only growing in popularity. I would recommend anyone with a little bit of interest in the sport and a lot of patience check out EA Sports UFC. There is a fun game in here somewhere -- it's just behind a lot of barriers.
EA Sports UFC photo
Causing brain damage never looked so good
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.

Reviews In Review: Watch Dogs, Monochroma, Wolf Among Us

Jun 01 // Ben Pack
World End Economica Episode 1 (PC)Developer: Spicy TailsPublisher: Sekai ProjectRelease: May 5, 2014MRSP: $12.99 World End Economica has so much going for it: an interesting premise, a protagonist with an actual design and personality (even if it is a little rotten) and the opportunity to capitalize on a business rarely (if ever) explored in video games: stock trading. Unfortunately, it squanders the opportunity to capitalize on these great bullet points and winds up a generic, muddled mess of pacing issues, bland dialogue, and characters too difficult to connect with. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full World End Economica Episode 1 review  Watch Dogs (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: May 27, 2014 / TBA 2014 (Wii U)MRSP: $59.99 Despite the fact that Watch Dogs hasn't made any meaningful impact on the genre, I found myself having a ton of fun with it. Between the deep levels of customization and the sheer breadth of content, there's no shortage of things to do. If Ubisoft can take the game's core fun factor and marry it with an actual "next-gen" experience the next time around, they'll have something truly special. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Watch Dogs review The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease: May 27, 2014 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) / TBA (iOS)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Having said that, Wolf Among Us continues to wow me with all of the details therein. From the Little Old Lady who lived in a shoe in a random painting to Curds and Whey in a jar, there's lots of lore building, and all it makes me want to do is read the comics proper. While The Walking Dead always feels like more of a micro-tale with each individual group, Wolf Among Us feels like something greater, and bigger than Telltale -- and that's a good thing. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing review Monochroma (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Nowhere StudiosPublisher: Nowhere StudiosReleased: May 28, 2014MSRP: $19.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit The narrative itself is generally engaging overall, but it suffers from a few holes. Aside from being told that the little brother is in fact the protagonist's little brother, the player is given no intrinsic reason to want to help him, and in fact, the player can grow to resent the character. Otherwise, there is not a good reason given that the two brothers decide to walk to the city and infiltrate a corporation instead of staying home and calling for medical help. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full Monochroma review Worms Battlegrounds (PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Team17Publisher: Team17Released: May 27, 2014MSRP: $24.99 Like most Worms games, you'll need other people to play with or risk monotony. Enemy AI still isn't the sharpest tool in the shed even this far in the game, and they can take far too long between turns, leading to boredom. Given the price tag of $25, it's perfect for those of you who haven't played a Worms game in years and have the itch. But if you've been playing along for the past few years, you might be able to skip this slightly upgraded collective of recent entries -- unless you're a fanatic, of course. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Worms Battlegrounds review  
REVIEWS! photo
Plus World End Economica
Reviewer? I hardly know her! This week's reviews in review goes out to Steven Hansen. Check out the video and all the reviews below.

Reviews In Review: Wolfenstein The New Order, Transistor, Drakengard 3

May 24 // Ben Pack
Kero Blaster (PC [reviewed], iPhone)Developer: Studio PixelPublisher: PlayismReleased: May 11, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (PC) $4.99 (iPhone) If Cave Story was Amaya's answer to Super Metroid, Kero Blaster is his Mega Man X. It's dense and perfectly paced, just begging to be replayed over and over. If I were to have to introduce someone to the genre of 2D action/platformers, it is probably the game that I'd give them, as it starts off easy-yet-engaging, and ends with giant bosses, swarms of enemies on screen, and everything else you could want in the genre. It's a game you may beat in a day, but will be playing off and on for a lifetime.  Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Kero Blaster review Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: Renegade KidPublisher: Renegade KidReleased: May 15, 2014MRSP: $8.99 It's really difficult to give Moon Chronicles a strong appraisal one way or the other. It's far from a stellar experience, but isn't a bad one either. There just isn't anything here that hasn't been done better elsewhere, and I can't see anyone other than FPS-starved 3DS owners or hardcore fans of the original being too interested. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 review Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: MachineGamesPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 In many ways, Wolfenstein: The New Order is "First-Person Shooters: The Game," but it gets most of the important details right. It's still weird to me seeing Wolf games developed over and over by new devs, but MachineGames did a great job adapting the franchise in its own way. With a few tweaks, the next iteration could be something truly special. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Wolfenstein: The New Order review Drakengard 3 (PS3)Developer: Access GamesPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 It's not too challenge of a game all things considered, because the difficulty curve is meticulously designed to not overwhelm or frustrate players. It's well made to the point where you won't feel like everything is too easy, and if you really need that extra edge to overcome a certain task, you can go back and level-up with sidequests. If you want to do everything you'll probably find yourself around a 100-hour completion rate, but the story is roughly at the 40-hour mark. Drakengard 3 is a bit unconventional at times (like its developer) with tales of extreme hair cutting and dragon piss, but action fans will want to seek this one out immediately. Within 15 minutes I was drawn into its world and its cast of characters, and I wanted to see Zero's journey through from start to finish. If you like games like Nier, you'll loveDrakengard 3. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Drakengard 3 review Transistor (PS4, PC [reviewed])Developer: Supergiant GamesPublisher: Supergiant GamesRelease: May 20, 2014MRSP: $19.99 / £14.99 While Transistor initially feels like a whole new game, structurally it sticks closely toBastion. Both games feature a beautiful but abandoned city that has undergone huge tragedy. In Bastion it was called the Calamity; in Transistor, it's dubbed The Process. Both feature areas where the player can rest and take stock; Red finds special doors which take her to a deserted island where challenge rooms are located (much like the Proving Grounds in Bastion). If the game isn't sufficiently challenging, Limiters can be installed that will make things harder for Red but at the benefit of gaining extra XP or other bonuses. These can be installed like Functions, swapped in and out at access points, but work the same way as the Idols in Bastion.  Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Transistor review R-Type Dimensions (PS3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Irem, Tozai GamesPublisher: Tozai GamesReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $9.99 If you have any fondness for the series, or if you're just looking for a solid side-scrolling shooter that's about as hard as can be, R-Type Dimensions faithfully re-creates the original experience and before long you'll be wondering why you did this to yourself. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full R-Type Dimensions review  
REVIEWS! photo
And more!
Look, E3 is coming up soon and that means we're about to get super excited about games. Let's take a minute and be thankful for the games we have right now, ok?

Review: R-Type Dimensions

May 20 // Ben Pack
R-Type Dimensions (PS3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Irem, Tozai GamesPublisher: Tozai GamesReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $9.99 R-Type Dimensions is a bundle of the first two (and best) R-Type games with optional updated art and music. It was originally released for Xbox 360 in 2009, and has now made its way to the PS3. If you are unfamiliar with the series, the R-Type games look like classic Gradius-style 2D shooters, but in reality they are much closer to bullet-hells, and make the player focus on flying their ship through obstacles and around enemies rather than just shooting. Levels are only a few minutes long, but feature different gimmicks like space waterfalls that push you around, giant mechanical dragons constantly creating and destroying barriers, and many more. The real challenge comes from the bosses, which often have you dodging plenty of obstacles while trying to focus on a tiny exposed weak spot. This version presents you with two options when picking a game. The first is “Classic Mode,” or the way R-Type was “meant” to be played. In this mode you only have three lives, and if you die even once you are sent back to a checkpoint, and upon dying three times you get a game over. There are things to make it easier, like using L2 to go into slow-mo mode and react to new on-screen threats faster, or a level select so you can replay levels to make your run easier. Still, with the amount of enemies on the screen suddenly appearing, it will take a lot of patience and memorization to beat either of the games on this mode. Luckily if you just want to see the game through no matter what, there’s Infinite Mode. Instead of starting with three lives, your counter starts at zero and it counts upward for each time you die. This is great for those of you who want to see the gripping story all the way through, but it also lets players be more lax with their lives. By the end of my second run-through of R-Type II, I gave up and had died 23 times on the last level alone before beating it. I wish that there was a mode in-between these two, since Classic seems borderline impossible and Infinite seems far too easy. The original games are there, kept intact including even bad translations like “The Bydo empire which has attempting to expand its territory over the galaxy has collapsed here.” There is a leaderboard for each game and each mode to compare both your level and overall scores with your friends. They have also added couch co-op, which can make killing enemies a lot easier, but also a lot more chaotic and fun. The games still look great and the sound effects are some of the best of the genre. Dimensions features updated graphics and audio. You can select options like updated graphics, screen stretching and “crazy” camera (a camera that will often tilt the screen to one side, making it harder to judge your relative position) before you start the game, but one of the neatest features of Dimensions is the fact that you can seamlessly toggle back and forth between the original art and music and the updated versions with a button press. This lets you experience, say, the new music and art on one of the bosses if you'd rather play the rest of the level on the classic settings. While I prefer the original music, the newer music is decent. However I wasn’t impressed by the new art at all, and think that the classic art is far superior. The fact that this art exists doesn’t detract from the original games at all, so you can still play the core games. For $10 this is a great value, as you get two great games with enough features that are either good additions, or completely optional. If you have any fondness for the series, or if you're just looking for a solid side-scrolling shooter that's about as hard as can be, R-Type Dimensions faithfully re-creates the original experience and before long you'll be wondering why you did this to yourself.
R-Type review photo
Prepare to die… in space
I’ve always been drawn to games that make me mad. It started with Punch-Out!! and evolved through the years into games like God Hand and Dark Souls. The feeling of achieving victory after countl...

Reviews in Review: Mario Kart 8, Super Time Force and more!

May 17 // Ben Pack
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 1Publisher: NintendoRelease Date: May 30, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Mario Kart 8 is my favorite series entry since Double Dash, and if it gets arena battle tracks at some point by way of DLC, it will be a near-perfect package. Its vibrant visuals will hold up for years to come, ensuring that the game will withstand the test of time, and it will be a staple in my household for a long, long while. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Mario Kart 8 review Ether One (PC)Developer: White Paper GamesPublisher: White Paper GamesReleased: March 25, 2014MRSP: $19.99 Ether One nails its puzzles, atmosphere, and sound (ambient and voice acting). It also nails its story -- whether or not you decide to fully unravel its world and its mysteries -- culminating in a, well, refreshing, smart finale that will stay on my mind for years to come. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Ether One review The Walking Dead Season Two: In Harm's Way (iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease: May 14, 2014 (PC, PS3) / TBA (iOS, Vita, Xbox 360)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Episode three was probably my favorite from season one of The Walking Dead -- so far, I'm feeling the same way about In Harm's Way. Based on the preview the next tale seems to be a buffer of sorts before an explosive end, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how Clementine's journey ends. You hooked me yet again, Telltale. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full The Walking Dead Season Two: In Harm's Way review Super Time Force (Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Capybara GamesPublisher: Capybara GamesRelease date: May 14, 2014MSRP: $14.99 All told, Super Time Force is a satisfying run-and-gun game made even better with a fun (and funny!) take on time travel. It's as enjoyable to play as it is to look at. You'll likely be able to burn through the game in a few hours if you're not going for full completion, but it has such a winning personality that you'll find yourself coming back for more. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Super Time Force  review Demon Gaze (PS Vita)Developer: Kadokawa GamesPublisher: NIS America Released: April, 2014MRSP: $39.99 You'll have to have plenty of patience and a pretty good imagination to get the most out of Demon Gaze. The dungeon crawling is great and the NPC interactions outside of the dungeons are fun, but it's insanely challenging (even on the easiest setting) and the high level of repetition and mostly static presentation could get to you after some time. And you'll also have to be okay with the game's many horny NPC situations as they didn't skimp on the fan service. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Demon Gaze  review Cloudbuilt (PC)Developer: CoilworksPublisher: Rising Star GamesReleased: March 20, 2014MRSP: $19.99 Cloudbuilt is frustrating. It's frustrating to play and frustrating to recommend. I like the style, I like the parkour mechanics overall, but there's a lot of junk to contend with. The antagonistic design (minefields everywhere) is one thing, but the unforgiving checkpoints and limited lives lead to a lot of repetition. Meanwhile, the combat ends up about as unsatisfying as Mirror's Edge, with worse enemies that either absorb too many bullets or deflect them with shields anyway. If you want something that is going to fight you every step of the way as you shave seconds off of run times (and you have a strong pinky finger), this is for you. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Cloudbuilt  review JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle (PS3)Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Bandai Namco GamesRelease Date: April 29, 2014MSRP: $49.99 Overall, despite its shortcomings, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is a colorful spectacle that both fans of the anime and future fans of the anime will want to pick up and experience, even if just to watch a man use only his upper body strength after hopping off his horse to hold his own in combat. It's funky, gorgeous, and oozing with style. And where it comes up short, it simultaneously delivers in terms of fanservice and content. You won't be putting it down for quite some time, unless, you know, you need some time to eat a few more breads in your life. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle review
REVIEWS! photo
Plus The Walking Dead, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Hey, what are you doing here! There's a ton of good games that came out this week! No wait, come back and watch this video for a couple of minutes, read the article, then you can go play those games.

Reviews in Review: Sportsfriends, Amazing Spider-Man 2

May 12 // Ben Pack
Bound By Flame (PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360)Developer: SpidersPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveRelease Date: May 9, 2014MSRP: $39.99 The game is actually on your side when it comes to whipping your character into shape, too, as if to compensate for dim AI and the repetitive grind that some may not find as rewarding as I did. There's plenty of loot scattered throughout the multiple winding passageways and easy-to-navigate dungeons, giving you numerous chances to craft new potions and other necessary items for use in battle. While gold isn't exactly in short supply, you'll still be faced with enough opportunities to make your own fortune rather than looking for your next payday. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Bound By Flame review Hitman GO (iOS)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: April 17, 2014MSRP: $4.99 Still, I was more than enamored with the numerous nods to classic Hitmanmoments, additional costumes, and the amount of polish lavished upon this bizarre yet savory addition to the Hitman universe. It's not perfect, and it certainly won't appeal to everyone, but if you're jonesing for your next taste of the life of an assassin, Hitman GO is the hippest way to emulate everyone's favorite sharp-dressed agent.  Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Hitman GO review Republique: Metamorphosis (iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 5], Mac, PC)Developer: Camouflaj, LoganPublisher: CamouflajReleased: April 30, 2014 (iOS) / PC (TBA)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) I had my doubts about the Republique project as a whole, but it's clear to me now after two episodes that Camouflaj "gets it." The studio is finding a way to improve upon the core tenets of the game while maintaining an episodic format, which many other developers don't tend to do. While I wouldn't recommend that everyone rush out and buy the Season Pass right now, I'm looking forward to seeing what the next episode brings to the table. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Republique: Metamorphosis review Sportsfriends (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Die Gute FabrikPublisher: Die Gute FabrikRelease Date: May 6, 2014MSRP: $14.99 Despite the fact that I don't think I'll be playing Barabariball or Super Pole Riders for very long, Hokra's level editor gives it legs, and Johann Sebastian Joust shouldn't be missed by anyone who enjoys having company over. It's a very uneven package in the sense that there could have either been a few more games and a few could have been better, but honestly -- $15 isn't a terrible price just for Joust alone. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Sportsfriends review Raiden IV: OverKill (PS3)Developer: MOSSPublisher: UFO Interactive GameReleased: April 29, 2014MSRP: $19.99 Raiden IV: OverKill could have used a few more extras, but the fact that you can get it cheaper than the Xbox 360 version when it launched (it's $20 now digitally as well) is a compelling reason for genre fans to pick this one up. While theRaiden series in general isn't my favorite collective of shmups, it's been a steady staple for over two decades for a reason. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Raiden IV: OverKill review The Elder Scrolls Online (Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: ZeniMax Online StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease: April 4, 2014 (Mac, PC) / June 2014 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)MSRP: $59.99 ($14.99 subscription fee, with 30 days included in base game) I think right now, the most prudent thing to do is to wait for ZeniMax to iron out all of The Elder Scrolls Online's kinks (including how it handles post level 50 content to make it less grindy), and play the console version of the game. Not only will it arrive with all of the updates from the PC version in tow, but it'll also have full native controller support -- which feels more natural than a mouse and keyboard in this instance. Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full The Elder Scrolls Online review Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC [reviewed], Mac)Developer: Big Finish GamesPublisher: AtlusReleased: May 7, 2014MRSP: $19.99 / £14.99 The humor doesn't always work and the puzzle design is still rooted in the series' 1990s adventure game roots, meaning it feels archaic in spots, but there are some welcome concessions to modern design with the flashlight and hint system. Tex Murphy might be alive in 2014 but he'll need to learn a few more tricks if he's to stay around for another adventure.  Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure review  
Review recap photo
Plus Tesla Effect, Raiden IV: Overkill
Hey some dude in the comments said I should do this drunk so Max made me drink malt liquor. Anyway here are the reviews I reviewed last week (as well as a couple more that went up after the video).

Reviews in Review: Child of Light, Daylight, Kirby Triple Deluxe

May 04 // Ben Pack
LEGO The Hobbit (3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSVita, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One, WiiU)Developer: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Brothers InteractiveRelease Date: April 8, 2014MSRPP: $29.99 (3DS, Vita), $49.99 (PS3, Xbox 360, WiiU), $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One) Still, there is a good bit to like about the game as well. If you've enjoyed the many other LEGOadaptations, this one is not without it's charm. The characters and backgrounds match the films well, and the game follows the story of the movies very closely, down to the questionable bonus material padding. Though again, being a bit limited by the original voicework may not allow for the normal LEGO slaptick-type humor, and a few scenes of real tension and whimsy from the films seem to fall a bit flat. Verdict: 6.5/10 - Read the full LEGO The Hobbit review Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)Developer: HAL LaboratoryPublisher: NintendoReleased: May 2, 2014MSRP: $34.99 Kirby:Triple Deluxe is yet another winning entry in the franchise. It delivers the core Kirby experience alongside of a few very well done extras, which is pretty much everything a fan could ask for. While the Kirby formula could easily be getting stale for some, it still represents a whimsical corner of platforming games that's centered around one central ideal -- fun. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Kirby: Triple Deluxe review Child of Light (PS3, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: April 30, 2014 Child of Light will satiate pretty much everyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans, and even then, they'll find plenty of enjoyment. There are a few minor issues here and there that hold it back from instant-classic status that could be enhanced in a sequel or future work, but regardless, Child of Light is a noble effort from Ubisoft Montreal, and another win to put in the studio's diverse portfolio. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Child of Light review FRACT OSC [Mac, PC (reviewed)]Developer: Phosfiend SystemsPublisher: Phosfiend SystemsMSRP: $14.99Released: April 22, 2014 FRACT OSC is a game where you need to be willing to go in blind and just explore; this might be something that puts a player off within the first 10 minutes, as there's no tooltips or tutorial to tell them what to do, unlike most modern games. If you allow yourself to be drawn into the strange, geometric landscape and understand the structure of the puzzles and progression, then you'll be rewarded with a great experience. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full FRACT OSC review Life Goes On (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Infinite Monkeys EntertainmentPublisher: Infinite Monkeys EntertainmentReleased: April 17, 2014MSRP: $12.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Life Goes On might not start with the most mindblowing hook, but the idea is solid and Infinite Monkeys develops it well. By constantly adding new tricks into its repertoire and not dragging itself out unnecessarily, it maintains a good quality throughout. Puzzle difficulty ranges from easy to medium-hard; it rarely gets diabolically difficult, and when it does it is only when completing optional objectives. Although it is not particularly nice to look at, the underlying gameplay is worthwhile for any puzzle platformer enthusiast. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Life Goes On review Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Gearbox SoftwarePublisher: 2K GamesReleased: April 15, 2014MSRP: $2.99 As with the other entries in the Headhunter series, Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax is a short experience with a relatively low price tag. Although it does not complete Borderlands 2 with a bang, it does a decent job of rounding out the series and setting up for the next one. Those particularly interested in the path of the characters moving forward will enjoy what this DLC does toward that end, but most other Borderlands fans would be just as well waiting for the release of the Pre-Sequel this fall. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Borderlands 2 Headerhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax review Daylight (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: Zombie StudiosPublisher: Zombie StudiosRelease: April 29, 2014MSRP: $14.99 Overall I felt as if Daylight was made as a jump-scare machine with a loosely tacked-on plot. I never felt invested in Sarah or cared much for the mysterious man rambling through her phone. In fact, I was more concerned with getting Miss Ghost off my back so she’d stop screaming, more so out of annoyance than fear. Daylight would have benefited from a fresh set of spooks rather than intermittent scares and muddy plot lines, but at the end of the day if you’re looking for a cheap thrill you've found it. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full Daylight review Destiny of Spirits (Vita)Developer: SCE Japan Studio, Q EntertainmentPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentMSRP: Free-to-play Released: March 25, 2014 As is the case with any free-to-play game, you really have nothing to lose but time by trying outDestiny of Spirits. It helps if you're a hardcore Sony fan and strive for some of the more unique characters, but otherwise the pace is far too slow, and the rewards are far too little for the amount of time you need to invest in it. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Destiny of Spirits review The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: BeenoxPublisher: ActivisionMSRP: $59.99Released: April 29, 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't a complete disaster, and I can easily see fans of Spidey enjoying it at a deep discount. It's just a shame that Beenox somehow got worse at makingSpider-Man games over time, and that the powers that be insist on rushing them as movie tie-ins. Somehow, someway -- we will get our Arkham of Spider-Man games again. Until then, you can just pick up a used copy of 2004's Spider-Man 2. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer:  Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixMSRP: $39.99 ($12.99 per month, with a free PS3-to-PS4 license transfer) Released: August 27, 2013 (PC, PS3) / April 14, 2014 (PS4) Despite those issues, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is my favorite MMO since World of Warcraft. It has a lot of things going for it, tons of content to explore, and best of all -- lots and lots of support. I have no doubt that the popularity of A Realm Reborn will continue to rise with every major update and expansion, and I wish Square Enix nothing but the best. I didn't think it was possible, but they have absolutely atoned for the original mess that was Final Fantasy XIV -- and then some. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn review
Reviews! photo
Plus LEGO The Hobbit & More
It's the end of the week which means that it's time for another episode of Reviews in Review. This week a TON of games came out, so if you missed any of our reviews just check out the video for a quick recap. Seriously, what else are you going to do for four minutes? This week I use some really bad accents.

Reviews in Review: FFXIV, Arkham Origins DLC & NES Remix 2

Apr 26 // Ben Pack
Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montréal / Splash DamagePublisher: Warner Bros.Released: April 22nd, 2014MSRP: $9.99 (part of the Season Pass) Cold, Cold Heart feels like a legitimate addition to the Arkham Origins lore, and not just a cheap cash-in. It's definitely a side story that's too big to be shoved into the core game, even if it doesn't really innovate in any meaningful way. While I wouldn't go out of my way to buy Arkham Origins just for it, I'd implore any current owner to take a look. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart review NES Remix 2 (Wii U)Developer: indieszeroPublisher: NintendoReleased: April 24, 2014MSRP: $14.99 This is something that I'm going to be playing for quite some time with friends every so often, comparing scores until the cows come home. I wish this mode was a bit more fleshed out overall though (two Mario games is a bit much), and I'd love to see it as a standard in future iterations of this franchise (SNES Remix, perhaps?). In other words, I wouldn't buy it just to play Championship mode, but it's enjoyable all the same. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full NES Remix 2 review. Disney Magical World (3DS)Developer: h.a.n.d.Publisher: NintendoReleased: April 11, 2014MSRP: $29.99 That's the theme of Magical World -- simplicity. There are no secret times you need to get to a club to hear a certain song, no special residents that will only grant you a rare item on a certain hour of a certain day (there is a clock, but its effects are mostly aesthetic). For those of you who like min/maxing turnip prices and the like, you won't scratch that same itch here. It's not like that's a bad thing in my book -- I think an increased amount of accessibility is great -- just be wary that it can affect the game's longevity. Verdict: 7/10 - Read the full Disney Magical World review Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)Developer: CamelotPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: May 2, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Mario Golf: World Tour's presentation is strong, especially when it comes to the varied characters and costumes. The course designs are colorful and exciting, and they're packed with little secrets to find. The low resolution of the shot grid is the only place where the presentation of World Tour lets you down. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Mario Golf: World Tour review  
Reviews recap photo
Review these Reviews in Review
Reviews in Review is back, and due to the fact that this is episode 2, it officially has lasted longer than that time Fox tried to bring back The Osbournes after it got cancelled.  Anyway, onto the reviews. This week I talked about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Hearts, NES Remix 2, and Disney Magical World. Check 'em out.

Reviews in Review: Steins;Gate, Half Minute Hero 2, Trials Fusion

Apr 19 // Ben Pack
Trials Fusion (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: RedLynx, UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftReleased: April 15, 2014 / April 24, 2014 (PC)MSRP: $19.99 / $39.99 physical release with Season Pass (Xbox One, PS4) Trials Fusion is a good game -- and I can only see it getting better over time as user-made levels excel and DLC is released -- but what's there now, at launch, is a step down from Trials Evolution. It's disheartening, then, to see the game come in at a higher price point than its predecessor and also try to sell users on a $19.99 Season Pass in-game right out of the gate. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Trials Fusion review. Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (PS Vita, 3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: AtlusReleased: April 15, 2014Price: $39.99 As the game progresses, the ritual scenes become a bit longer and naughtier. Toward the end of the game, when you've maxxed out the bonds with the girls, the scenes of baby making become even more horny. You'll see hands against walls, rears out, with girls wincing. Again, nothing is happening as far as contact is concerned, but depending on your tastes, these scenes could be offensive. I've been around the block a few times and have seen way worse. For me, these scenes were more silly than anything. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars review. Steins;Gate (PC)Developer: 5pb., Nitroplus Publisher: JAST USAReleased: March 31, 2014MSRP: $29.99 And things will indeed get intense. Steins;Gate is a taxing game, but it's also quite beautiful, from the talented Japanese voice cast (no English dub, unfortunately) to artist huke's unorthodox visuals. It's an exemplary visual novel with a thrilling premise, memorable characters, and a fantastic "true" ending that may very well move you to tears. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Steins;Gate review. Putty Squad (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Vita)Developer: System 3 SoftwarePublisher: System 3 SoftwareReleased: March 11, 2014MSRP: $29.99 You should only pick up Putty Squad if you're a fan of the original, and have an unhealthy affinity towards platformers. Everyone else need not apply unless the game drops to a rightful price of $10 or less. Verdict: 5/10 - Read the full Putty Squad review. Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC)Developer: Marvelous AQLPublisher: Marvelous AQLRelease: April 4, 2014MSRP: $19.99 Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming makes a number of improvements on an established formula. It's endearing, provocative, and silly. But it lacks variety and never quite recaptures the magic of its predecessor. No longer a breath a fresh air, The Second Coming settles for being an enjoyable lark. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming review.
Review in Review photo
Review these Reviews in Review
"Reviews in Review" is a new show that releases every week where I will go over the reviews published this week on Destructoid, as well as give a score to the week in general. This week I talked about the reviews for Steins;...

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