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7:52 AM on 07.17.2008

Sheva Alomar Is A Badass

With the recent announcement of online co-op play in Resident Evil 5, we all rejoiced with glee. In my mind, it was one of the best announcements that was unveiled at E3, but then again, there wasn't too much to write home about anyway. We were introduced to Sheva Alomar at the Microsoft press conference. From first glance she kind of looks like a mix between Angelina Jolie and Marsha Thomason (from Lost fame playing as a rescuer named Naomi). Both really hot obviously and we know how Capcom tends to know exactly what we want.


What is special about her is the fact that she seems like the pefect partner for Chris Redfield. Just look at them side-by-side ready to exterminate any deformed being that Capcom will throw at them. Another appeal to her is the fact that she is a trained B.S.A.A. (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) agent from Africa, where as Chris is not from Africa but was only sent there by the same branch.

From the looks of the footage we have seen so far, it seems as though Sheva has been involved in some bio-terror accident in the past and because of it, has been inclined to fight against it. She sports interesting necklaces, colorful armbands, golden earings, and hot tattoos on her arm/shoulder (the hottest spot for a tattoo on a girl in my humble opinion).

Will there be a love interest between the two? Who knows. Though, knowing Capcom, I wouldn't be surprised. The fact that their paths cross in the beginning hopefully means that later on they will get seperated by a series of events which will lead one another to rescue eachother from the horrors of Africa. I'm really liking her vibe and style, it looks like a great move on Capcom's part. Luckily, we do not have to deal with a Leonardo DiCaprio wannabe like in Code Veronica and this time around our sidekick is one hot, badass, ass-kicking woman. Get pumped!   read

8:41 PM on 07.15.2008

Most Wanted XBLA Game and Arcade Classic: Lucky & Wild

Note: All the chaos, controversy, and joy that comes with E3 has been taking its toll on our blogging brains. I took this opportunity to reflect upon a game who's innovations seemed to be quite revolutionary at the time...a theme we should try to step back and follow. This of course, is the theme of simple and non-refutable fun.

What defines manhood? Well, while some would say that playing football, not giving a fuck about girls, or hunting buck in the great outdoors is manhood, my definition is quite different. Pumping quarters into a machine to continue your virtual life sounds strange as well, but not while you are playing Namco's Lucky & Wild. The game makes a 10 second continue countdown seem like life or death as you race back to the change machine which won't take your crimped dollar. Never has one's ego been diminished after a round of Lucky & Wild, even after losing quickly. The game throws the two players in a frentic onslaught of mobster cars, biker gangs and massive bosses such as an 18 wheeler, which was unlike anything else at the time and even now. While your lame ass friends were winning tickets to purchase useless gimmicks like a blow up baseball bat, you were lucky and discover Lucky & Wild and summon a friend to play with you. This was the start of something beautiful, an adventure you wouldn't dream of experiencing, because you didn't know it was possible. You were about to take the role of either Lucky or Wild and while it is not by most standards as a role-playing game, getting kissed on the cheek by saucy babes at roadside bars (increasing your score) at the end of missions seemed to make me feel like I wasn't wearing overalls anymore.

You see, in the 1990s the arcade was the place to get the most amazing and innovative gaming experiences. While home consoles were just starting to see the light of day during this time, arcades still provided the most flare, with the exception of the highly expensive Neo-Geo AES console which possessed high graphical detail and arcade style. While many other games like Mortal Kombat and X-Men: The Arcade Game were impressive, the Starsky & Hutch lookalike involved two seats contained in a car shaped area and was extremely appealing. Lucky & Wild was a game which was hard to pass up, even for somebody like my Dad who doesn't really like games but admits it's the coolest game he's ever played. It probably did really well with the angered business man, who just got out of his nine to five job and wants to kick ass he'll never kick and chase national criminals. Lucky & Wild isn't just a game, it's an experience and if you haven't played it by now, there is a good chance you never will, as it's pretty hard to find now even at many arcades.

With arcades slowly fading away and video games meaning home consoles, innovation seems to be somewhat of a pipe dream because of structural limitations. The Nintendo Wii for example, has been interesting in its approach to gaming, yet I wonder if it could ever reach the level of entertainment I had playing Lucky & Wild. I've had some epic battles and matches with Wii sports but without style and imagination one cannot vision himself/herself as somebody else, rather just themselves as a Mii. Lucky & Wild is a perfect example of game which rips off typical Hollywood movie cop films and succeeds. It succeeded because it took a formula well-liked within American society and transformed it into a high octane gaming experience which could never be achieved if it were licensed from an actual movie or duo. What makes it special is the game's ability to make you and your partner in crime-busting a reckless duo and important. When you sit down with you friend, you transform into two cool cops and you undergo radically constrasting events from your normal everyday life and interactions. That is what makes Lucky & Wild irresistibly playable and an escape from your ever increasing mundane life.   read

12:28 AM on 07.15.2008

Too Mammal Demo

Too Human is a different game from what we all expected. Maybe we did at this point, or some months before, but the previously highly-anticipated 360 game seems to be now officially crossed off that list. Where a facade of great style and graphics seem to mask gameplay.

Obvious reasons why this game isn't quite human:
3. Slow and strangely weird acting camera, sometimes does cool things but typically hinders the player and I think it is worse than Ninja Gaiden II's camera.

2. Battles seem to have no dynamics. The formula seems to be: fight off hordes of enemies, fight bosses who just stand in one place and do one attack, move through a door or two into a large/open area and repeat.

1. Terrible swordplay/combat (via analog stick). Maybe I'm spoiled recently by games such as Ninja Gaiden II and Devil May Cry 4, but I haven't been sold on analog stick combat yet in games. It is extremely sluggish, unresponsive and boring.

Too Human kills me inside as I am disappointed in Silicon Knights (especially after really enjoying Eternal Darkness). In one aspect, the game is a brilliant idea, executed perfectly in terms of design, art, presentation and style. Some moments were really cool, like the first moment an enemy appears and the camera shifts smoothly watching the player. But the gameplay lacks hard in real involvement and fun. I found everything so slow from the readjusting the camera to movement. While some basic movements seem to have been done right such as an effective roll and a heart pounding jump, the swordplay is downright hideous. I cant play through a game with so much depth and potential if the combat is ridden with inexcusable boredom. It doesn't seem like I will be picking this up after all.   read

9:09 AM on 07.09.2008

My Roommate's Ninja Kat

Carefully hiding and scoping the scene

Well I miss my old apartment or I guess living out of my parent's house, but what I truly miss is my old roommate's cat. His name is Killer and sometimes he'd piss me off a lot (ie: chewing/fucking up my 360 headset), but he still rules. While not having a cat around can be nice because I can once again put things places knowing that no one will fuck with them, Killer is a ninja. I know this for a fact. He began his training by being in one place then the next within a blink of the eye. His skills were well established, but I truly knew he was a ninja a couple weeks after. This day was when I decided to play through Ninja Gaiden again as NG II was only a month or so away from being released. As I began to play Killer came into my room looking to be a little punk. He began to think the controller wire was his toy but then he stopped and looked at the screen. I could see his ninja senses take over him. He began to edge closer to the screen sitting down watching the action unfold upon his very over ninja eyes. After a couple minutes he began to rub the television screen with his paws and yelp getting in the way of my intense battling. It was the cutest thing I ever saw a cat do and I knew that Killer's name was well suited as I was beheading low-life ninjas left and right. His training paid off as he became the bug exterminator in the house, using ninja tactics he learned in Ninja Gaiden. He still hasn't seen Ninja Gaiden II, but I think it would make him flip in his chair! Miss you buddy!   read

4:04 PM on 07.08.2008

Bedstation: Top 5 Bed Games

Probably the best thing in the entire world. Am I right or what? But not every game is well suited for the relaxing and slumber that a bed protests. Some heavy action and intense games are too frantic for a tired one. I will say that I love playing video games in bed no matter what the game is, but some games require too much concentration (Ninja Gaiden 2, I'm looking at you). The games where you actually have to sit up from your slouched position and part your hair millions of times during an intense boss battle needs to take a break while in bed. These are my top five games to play in bed and why.

5. Animal Crossing for Gamecube
Why: It is simply fun and relaxing. Stress is only a minor factor as you deal with "real life stress" of relationships and doing your job well and on time. Animal Crossing is perfect, even when you wanna doze off for a halfie or two, you can wake up and hey...maybe you got new mail!

4. Super Mario Brothers Series for Nintendo systems
Why: There is something mezmerizing about playing a Super Mario Brothers game. Whether it be teleporting through pipes or tossing fireballs like there was no tomorrow, the series has always provided a nice relaxing and invigorating experience. SMB games typically have a great flow and learning curve perfect for some relaxed gameplay. It is never a bad idea to pop in SMB 3.

3. Skate for XBOX 360
Why: Skate is one of the most perfect pick up and play games. Just like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater did years ago, it innovated a simple yet complex control scheme which was easy to pick up quickly but hard to master. It is always great loading up a session of Skate and just cruising around in and out of bowls and on rails. It is a great game to get your mind off things and eliminate all the pressures of your life and other games. When you fall, no one really sees nor cares.

2. Earthbound for SNES
Why: There has been so much said about this game that I hope almost all of you already know this game inside and out. One of the best SNES RPGs and best RPGs in general of our time, Earthbound is perfect for bed time relaxing. With witty dialogue and simple gameplay and menus, Earthbound is a treat. It is like living out your fantasy boy life while just staying in bed and I say "fuzzy pickles" to that.

1. Metal Gear Solid Series for PSX, PS2, PS3
Why: While the Metal Gear Solid series has certainly had its action packed moments, its true motive is a passage through dialogue and cinematic story telling. I only dream of having a PS3 so I could play MGS4 in bed all day. It is the perfect game to just sit back and relax to. Watching movies in bed is great, playing Metal Gear Solid in bed is better.

There are definitely many more, but these five standout, as games I remember and still love to play while in bed. So, what are some games you bring to bed? Oh yeah, the DS in bed pretty much kills all of these just because, but I didn't want to list tons of DS games.   read

9:21 AM on 07.03.2008

The Researcher & The Lamer

What makes us different from just a gamer? Well writting in this community is certainly a start. This topic is heavily misinterpreted by parents and nongamers. Gamers have been getting a bad rep for quite some time ever since we were even recognized as a category of people (which has only been as of late). Back in the day when I'd be walking with my parents through the local mall, we'd pass by a "Electronics Boutique." Guys in about their teens were playing Street Fighter II competively on the demonstration Super Nintendo in the store. I think just about everyone who stepped in that store was amazed at the game for its supurb level of detail and color. At this point in my life, the term "gamer" did not exist. Gaming was sought out as simply a form of entertainment similar to television. No one ever calls a person a "watcher" do they? Maybe it is because very few people dislike television. Although, I know I will always watch TV, I've been slowly beginning to hate it and the influx of commercials is becoming borderline torturous.

Raccoons watching TV is just cute

Now being 21 years old and an "adult," I am fully emersed and dedicated to video game culture. Before when I was a kid, there was certainly fascination as I was obsessed with video games, but the complete understanding was somewhat missing. When I go into gamestores now, I get a little frustrated by little obnoxious kids who think they know it all. I know that I am bitter, but it seems different now. I would love to do a research or poll on how many kids actually spend time conversing and researching games rather than just jumping on their brother's copy of GTA4. I know I am using GTA4 as a scapegoat, but it seems that so many kids are playing it because they aren't supposed to. It is just strange to me, growing up playing and loving Megaman X titles and classic SNES RPGs. I was always that kid who would rather sit in at home and play Chrono Trigger than go outside on a nice sunny day. Whenever I was grounded, my punishment was the sticks being taken away for a period of time. How cruel!

I realize now that I practically spend more time involved in the gaming community than playing video games. Is this a good thing? Yes. Involvement in game communities is what breaks the barrier of what video games used to be. Of course, parents will never understand, but this is because they only saw us mindlessly sitting in front of the television. They saw no community and no interaction, which are facets of our lives that our essential to our development and intelligence. Hence why Barrack Obama recently stated that we need to get our children way from the video games and to take a step back. While he has a point, I believe he needs to dig deeper into understanding that video games have a community and level of importance that has yet to be fully recognized. Video games were independent in that they once stood alone and were the experience only learned once the game was purchased. Now, I rarely ever buy a game I never heard of. Secondly, I almost never buy a game that completely sucks. Spending 50 to 60 bucks on a video game when I was a kid was a huge deal and lengthy convincing process with my parents as to why it was going to be better than all the other games. Eventually getting a game and then having it suck was pretty hard to cope with. I had much more tolerance than I do now though, I was willing to stick with a game that sort of sucked hoping for promise later on.

Yes, I'm a little bit angry

The internet has propelled our understanding of video games to a greater level. We are almost spoiled to a point, but is a very good thing. Now we don't have to rely on a Gamestop pimple-nosed employee to tell us that a game made him get an erection last night, but rather we can absorb many different sources and decide intelligently for ourselves. This is what seperates us between the researcher (the gamer) & the lamer. We all here are the researchers, actively involved in understanding every aspect of the gaming world and how our games that we eventually buy and love come together. We respect the process of making a game and we embrace the creativity, influencing our own lives and ideas. When we play a game, we analyze everything and when something is done right, in our minds we truly thank the developer for a smart move or choice. We essentially play games because they are fun, but more importantly because we respect them more than some lame MTV television show. Video games envelop a certain level of creativity seen no where else, in any art form, and we play them because we can be actively involved in this creativity. The lamer is one who plays video games for all the wrong reasons. While many of these "lamers" are kids I only hope they will grow up to be gamers who embrace the culture rather than a weightlifting jock who only played them because he thought they were just "cool." I find myself stuck in many conversations with people who think they are gamers but really don't know shit. I try and not be an elitist but it is hard when somebody thinks as games as just some secondary whore. We all do, but most of us here are much more excited and involved. I have nothing against people who occasionally play video games or who don't really like or understand them, but if you are going to get involved, get involved the right way and understand video games, don't just play them.   read

12:37 PM on 07.01.2008

GTA4 Party Mode Tonight

Guys and gals, I've been playing GTA4 online a lot and while schooling little twelve year old punks all night long is heavily satisfying, I want to play with some of you guys. Last night I did such things and ranked up my character to I believe level 4. I got some pimp ass threads now, it is nice. I've been playing occasionally with a personal friend of mine as well and doing this really improves the fun factor. There is a undeniable boost when you play online with one of your good friends. You feel like your friendship and teamwork is being played out in another reality. It is great, I love it. Tonight I was hoping some of you guys would like to play in a party mode and we could be a sweet team and fuck shit up. Just send me a friend invite or message on live (my gamertag is to the right). I'll be on from the hours of 8 to 12 (Eastern Time), even maybe a bit earlier or a bit later. It would be great to play with some dtoiders. I'll be chillin' out all night like Playboy X. Though, I really hoped you all killed him instead of Dwayne. Playboy X was a little wannabe pimp backstabber. See you tonight.   read

9:34 PM on 06.30.2008

It Is Time To Get My Own HDTV

So if you want to know my gaming deal, I basically go from two different setups continuously. One is the setup at my parents house, which is a fantastically giant HDTV. I love it and it truly brings the 360 out. The other setup is with an okay CRT 20 inch television which I have when I am at school. The comparison is clear, but it is all I have. The problem I have is that the HDTV is down in a family room which gets used regularly. I also just have this weird pet peeve about wanting to play video games in the comfort in my own room. Don't ask me why, I just feel that it is nicer and more relaxed for some reason. So soon I think I am going to get an HDTV. I need one because playing a 360 on a CRT does not compare, especially once you see what you have on an HDTV.

I was looking at this TV:

It seems highly affordable and practical. Anyone know if this TV is good or not? I heard that it eventually had some problems but some said it worked great. Either way, it is the cheapest HDTV I could find. I also for some reason like how it is a tube television and has a bulky back. I'm just old school like that. Plus, I know companies know they can make you spend so much more money on a TV just because it is flat. I don't need that luxury. I just need a nice HDTV that I can count on. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.   read

2:11 PM on 06.30.2008

A Lonely Metal Gear Heart

Well, I knew this would happen. When I made the choice to buy an Xbox 360, I never regreted it, I still dont. Unfortunately, I knew the one game I couldn't have was Metal Gear Solid 4. I got Grand Theft Auto 4 and Ninja Gaiden 2. They satisfy me greatly and at least I have them both to satisfy my time for quite a while. But, the more I hear about MGS4 and how great it is pains my Metal Gear heart. Maybe I'll play it when I get as old as Solid Snake or Old Snake as he is called in the game. Only time will tell.   read

10:56 AM on 06.30.2008

Ninja Gaiden 2 Review

As I pulled off another "obliteration technique," my mouth remained dropped. I thought to myself, "Team Ninja, you've done it again." Brutally, a poor warrior's legs were chopped off, sliced around the torso in a spinning fashion (like a spindle), only to be finished by a beheading of the vicious claws that our hero Ryu can sport. Ninja Gaiden II defies and reinvents classic hack 'n slash gameplay while also utilizing the newest technology and development. Even at the title screen, NG 2 gives me a certain nostalgic feel and has a particular aura about itself. This is because while NG 2 could be viewed as a complex combat adventure, the simplicity of the mostly linear gameplay and environments create a sort of 2D feel to a 3D environment. Typically, linear gameplay is looked down upon nowadays because of the possibilities of 3D environments. Despite of this, NG 2 is an exception to the rule and Team Ninja has perfectly blended gameplay reminiscent of 2D coupled with the execution of 3D.

The story in Ninja Gaiden II is not very important. It is a classic tale of good versus evil, with an emphasis on evil. You play as a masterful ninja named Ryu Hayabusa of the Dragon Lineage clan. The story has a sort of anime feel with a real life vibe. There is no need to play the previous game for the story as it is rather ambiguous but for skill maybe so as the general concepts of the first game have been transposed over to this sequel. You basically are a one man killing machine on a mission to save the world from evil demon fiends. The cutscenes littered throughout the game certainly add to the game and are extremely stylized. They are useful in cutting up the gameplay and explaining how Ryu gets everywhere that he goes.

The beautiful Vienna-like stage is colorful and intricate

The environments in Ninja Gaiden II are uninteractive for most of the game and while some of the stages are simply stunning, others are a bit lacking. Essentially, what makes it linear is the fact that everything other than the combat is planned out. By this, I mean that you must enter a certain doorway or you must run along two walls in order to reach higher ground, etc. Everything else that may seem to be jumpable or interactive is many times not either of the two. This can be a fresh of breath air if one has an open mind and has liked the linear nature of 2D games. You will never get lost in Ninja Gaiden II and people who have played the first installment that came out on XBOX a little over four years ago will have no trouble getting accustomed. While there were various little puzzles and tasks that split up the combat and varied the gameplay in NG, NG 2 seems to be almost completely void of these chores. Because of this, the gameplay is faster, meaner, and sanguineous.

Undoubtedly, NG 2's heart can be found within its combat. Team Ninja and director Tomonobu Itagaki explicate their vision of bloodshed through numerous stunning and graceful animations. Ninja Gaiden II is simply the ultimate and best hand-to-hand combat and hack 'n slash game ever made. This may be a slightly bold statement, but the combat speaks for itself...and it speaks in large volumes of blood and dismemberments. The heavily expansive list of weapons available in the game is gratifying. Unlike the first Ninja Gaiden, all the new weapons in NG 2 are swift and speedy. Some are more than others of course, but even the burly, death-defying sickle is blazing fast in comparison say to the "War Hammer" in the previous Ninja Gaiden. The "Falcon's Talons" easily are the most badass and foraying addition to the various melee weapons. They are simply wolverine-esque looking claws that also have foot attachments consisting of claw-like blades as well. Similar to the feeling when you initially get the "Vigoorian Flails" in the first Ninja Gaiden, the "Falcon's Talons" are a blast to play with and has a phenomenal balance of blindingly fast attack speed and colossal power. When fully leveled up by purchasing upgrades at the "Muramasa Statues" through the use of collecting the yellow orbs of dead Fiend's souls, this weapon will mutilate to an extent which is unfathomable.

Yes, luckily this is a reality for us. Unfortunately for him, it isn't.

What truly stands out in Ninja Gaiden II is the level of accuracy, precision, and tangibility it possesses. When you land an attack or slash an enemy, the accuracy of the blade is practically flawless resulting in either a severing of a limb or maybe just a visceral body blow. When flawlessly executed, beheading an enemy by the use of typically "the flying swallow" technique (a fast dashing slash attack), terminates an enemy and cuts to the chase. During sequences of heavy action this may be hard to see, but with enough fighting, the precision is notably smooth and dreadfully responsive. This scrupulous swordplay becomes highly circumstantial as every slice and movement is pivotal and urgent. When the battles get intense one will really feel like his or her life is on the line and a new health regeneration system helps to ease the tension in-between fights. While there isn't much more that is living and moving other than the combat in the locales, the game breathes and is alive because as a ninja your primary objective is to kill. One will know when he or she has performed a "counter-attack" or an "obliteration technique" because when it happens, you truly feel it. The Ninja Gaiden series has always been a challenging endeavor. Very rarely is the game unfair and if one is to keep dying in the midst of battle, it signifies that he or she is probably not quite on top of their game and on par with the ramping difficulty that Ninja Gaiden 2 manages generally well. Unlike its predecessor, Itagaki took in account the various complaints about the difficulty of the game being very hard from the start and accommodated beginners in NG 2. The beginning few stages are fairly easy and allow some challenge to veteran players. Once the player reaches stages 4 and 5, the vicissitude in difficulty is greatly increased and is evident as one will continue to stare at the "Game Over" screen perplexed.

A difficult weapon the master, the Kusari-gama are as much challenging as they are fun

Ninja Gaiden II as a game is unfortunately not as flawless as the combat it contains, though all of these issues are little nuances that will only slightly hiccup one's experience. An evident and sometimes glaring issue is the occasional frame rate drop that plagues the gameplay when there is a lot of action and enemies on the screen. Luckily, I've only encountered this problem a handful of times and the rest of the game was fluid. Another extremely minuscule detail is how NG 2 consistently utilizes the concept of forking paths and enclaves. Many areas in NG 2 will force you to either go right or left, one route typically becoming a dead end with an item chest or a slain ninja with a document. This is what makes NG 2 a little more enjoyable as you are constantly being equipped. There are of course exceptions to this rule, but not very often. This extra exploration is gratifying, but sometimes the other path leads to a cinematic or event in which you cannot go back. Also, this extra exploration can be extremely limited. What I mean by that is the fact that these alternative paths will make one subconsciously explore more in order to guarantee that nothing is missed. One will most likely discover that there isn't much more to interact with and that they are wasting their time. The mix of many obvious paths with a few more imaginative routes make breaking that habit of going the extra distance difficult as I typically always feel like I could be missing something in some desolate corner. Another almost comical issue deals with the amount of blood splatter that covers the walls and floors. This great attention to detail works extremely well but sometimes there is so much blood that some splatters amongst the thin air just suspended and void of gravity. Of course this is another very small detail that only occurs rarely and is more laughable than ruining.

The boss battles are larger and more frequent than the previous outing

The final and probably the most important issue with Ninja Gaiden II is the use of the game's camera. The camera hasn't changed much from its predecessor (other than maybe slighter higher up and the various camera tricks of the obliteration techniques) and it was what faulted the title. The camera essentially is the reason why NG 2 is just shy short of a perfect score. It is problematic, somewhat unpredictable and lazy. While you can straighten the camera with the "R Trigger," in the midst of battle this is difficult to continuously do. The camera seems to strive in large and open areas, but fail in closed in and tight spaces. Sometimes the camera will stick behind a wall totally blinding the player from the action, which can sometimes be imperative to survival. Although this is somewhat of a sacrifice, the camera beautifully and elegantly embraces the action as if it were hugging a teddy bear, staying close to the action in order to expose the details. The issue is reasonable as programming code in order to fix or change a integral part of a game, (such as the camera) could easily affect the entire game. I imagine that Team Ninja sought out in devising a compromise in order to fix these issues and maintain its signature view. Unfortunately, time constraints and inconveniences could both be reasons why the camera can be somewhat problematic. Either way, it is the biggest issue in the game, but only a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. A camera that works perfectly and just stays exactly behind Ryu at all times is solid, but Team Ninja's trademark camera work is just extremely cool. Further more, it may have been worth their while if they included an option between a stylistic camera and a more straight-forward camera. Something to think about if there ever is a Ninja Gaiden III.

NG 2 is a special title. It is special because a game like this only comes every so often. It is a testament to what gaming should accomplish: a creative, fluid, and tight campaign that is memorable and distinguished. The game feeds you with a fast-paced and heart-wrenching experience that only developer Team Ninja could produce. While other titles come close, such as Capcom's Devil May Cry 4, NG 2's combat is just fiercer, bloodier and exorbitant. It may not be the most well-rounded or best game of the year, but if you are looking for smooth responsive control and combat, look no further than the way of the blade.   read

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