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Review: Warframe photo
Review: Warframe
by Chris Carter

Warframe has just released on the Xbox One, and it's undergone some changes since it launched -- mostly good changes, meant to add more content to the game in the form of items and missions.

It still fails in all of the same areas however, mostly its inability to craft an interesting world, and the free-to-play scheme that encourages far too much grinding.

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Review: Hatoful Boyfriend photo
Review: Hatoful Boyfriend
by Alasdair Duncan

Moving to a new school always sucks. You need worry to about grades, pick classes, join a club, try to find new friends, and fit into an existing social hierarchy. 

Imagine that but with the added confusion of all your schoolmates being birds.

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Review: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas photo
Review: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
by Chris Carter

This year, Blizzard embarked upon an interesting experiment. Instead of just charging people for card expansions, it bundled together an add-on called the Curse of Naxxramas, and released a different "wing" each week. To earn your cards you had to defeat the various denizens of the temple, which in turn unlocked more modes of play and new bosses to fight.

After completing the last wing, I can say that the experiment was definitely worthwhile, an hope Blizzard does it again -- just with a little more flair next time.

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Review: Starbucks' Donkey Kong Frappuccino photo
Review: Starbucks' Donkey Kong Frappuccino
by Brett Makedonski

PAX is full of weird pandering shit designed to appeal to the almost 100,000 gaming fans that come out for the convention. Any company would be remiss to pass up the opportunity to make some easy extra cash by selling products that show-goers buy based on reference rather than actual appeal. Imagine our delight when we found a sign at Starbucks imploring us to get a Donkey Kong Frappuccino.

Hamza, Jordan, and I all took the plunge on the DK monstrosity. Yep, we had to buy it just because of the name. Dammit, these shitty marketing tactics actually work. No regard for price or ingredients, one by one, we all did the DK Frap.

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Review: Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney photo
Review: Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
by Patrick Hancock

You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! 

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are great. Personally, my favorite part is the edge, as long as you still get a little bit of peanut butter along with it. It is sort of annoying though when you peel off the wrapper and it takes a good chunk of chocolate with it, though. If you don't like peanut butter OR chocolate, I can't imagine that you'd want to indulge in a Reese's. If you don't dislike either one though, you easily understand why Reese's is some of the best candy ever.

So anyway, Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney...

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Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection photo
Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection
by Brittany Vincent

The Hyperdimension Neptunia series is a polarizing one. Some find Compile Heart’s thinly-veiled parodies of the game industry engaging and painfully adorable, and flock to it for an abundance of fanservice. Others run far, far away at the mere mention of the developer’s swath of content, especially given its less than lukewarm reception among critics and gaming publications.

Needless to say, it doesn’t need much help languishing in obscurity without having to resort to a spin-off that finds you grooming the all-female cast to be the best pop stars they can possibly be. That's why Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is such a strange prospect. Compile Heart's attempt at a Project Diva-styled rhythm game is cutesy enough in its execution, but it ends up a little tone deaf.

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Review: Mighty Gunvolt photo
Review: Mighty Gunvolt
by Chris Carter

Inti Creates is just full of surprises. First, we had the announcement of a brand new Mega Man-like project that absolutely exploded on Kickstarter. Then we got word that Azure Striker Gunvolt was in production, and was an attempt to recreate the feel of the Mega Man X and ZX titles.

Now, we have a full-on 8-bit loveletter to the NES area in the form of Mighty Gunvolt, which is a free add-on for Striker. Provided that Mighty No. 9 delivers, this is going to be one hell of a retro trifecta.

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Review: Azure Striker Gunvolt photo
Review: Azure Striker Gunvolt
by Chris Carter

If Capcom ever decides that they're done with Mega Man, someone will carry the torch. Whether it's tireless fan creators or the father of the Blue Bomber himself, the Mega Man community is one of the most passionate collectives I've ever seen in the gaming industry.

Not content with rebooting his creation entirely with Mighty No. 9, Inti Creates has crafted a love-letter to Mega Man ZX, and the 8-bit era. If Azure Striker Gunvolt is anything to go by, I hope that passion lives on for quite a while.

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Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Old Iron King photo
Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Old Iron King
by Chris Carter

While Dark Souls II brought me back to that special place that I found with Demon's Souls in many ways, the first DLC pack, Crown of the Sunken King, didn't go far enough with its concepts.

It's really hard to give us a worthwhile add-on with Artorias of the Abyss looming over it, but the second pack, Crown of the Old Iron King, does a much better job of distilling the Souls experience.

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Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: No Going Back photo
Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: No Going Back
by Chris Carter

I really enjoyed watching Clementine's tale unfold over the course of The Walking Dead Season 2. It managed to establish a different tone than the first season, which makes them rather hard to compare bit by bit.

But in terms of delivering a suspenseful, emotional finale, I think Lee's final outing takes the cake. Season 2's No Going Back is the last time we'll see Clementine for a while, but for the most part the episode deals with many of the same themes we've seen in her adventures so far.

Not that it's a bad thing, mind you -- just don't go in expecting it to blow your mind.

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Review: inFamous: First Light photo
Review: inFamous: First Light
by Chris Carter

It's five months later, and inFamous: Second Son is still one of my favorite games of the year. As a massive improvement in just about every facet of the franchise, I enjoyed seeing how Delsin's story played out, and as I slowly made my way towards a 100% completion rate, I wanted more.

Well, we're getting just that with inFamous: First Light, a standalone DLC story not unlike Festival of Blood, starring Fetch -- the neon heroine from the original.

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Review: Lethal League photo
Review: Lethal League
by Ben Pack

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.

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Review: CounterSpy photo
Review: CounterSpy
by Steven Hansen

CounterSpy's stylized Cold War re-imagining is on point. It looks good, with its spindly spy running, rolling, and leaping like a jumping spider. It sounds good, with its jazzy soundtrack that reminds of James Bond

Unfortunately, the rest of it feels half-baked. 

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Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment photo
Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
by Chris Carter

Despite how you may feel about the polarizing second arc of Sword Art Online, fans generally have nothing but good things to say about the first arc. It managed to nail a lot of aspects of MMO culture, along with marrying the aspect of a virtual game of death into an interesting narrative full of mostly likable characters.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment manages to re-tell the end of the arc in videogame form, and even though it isn't the best RPG on the Vita, it's pretty much a must-have for hardcore fans of the series who always wondered what lurked beyond the 75th floor of SAO.

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Review: Hohokum photo
Review: Hohokum
by Kyle MacGregor

Hohokum is amazing. It can also be awful. My time with it was often as captivating as it was arduous. Hohokum is everything right and wrong with videogames. It's equally worthy of condemnation and acclaim.

I adore this horrible thing.

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Review in Progress: Firefall photo
Review in Progress: Firefall
by Chris Carter

Firefall is a game that has seemed to get a lot of press over the past few years, often for the wrong reasons. Whether it's word of troubled staff, protests, or delays, most Firefall news isn't good news.

But alas, as we all know, the true test of a game's strength is how it plays on its own merits, when it's fully released. After testing it out for a few weeks I can safely say that Firefall hasn't blown me away, but it has laid a decent foundation to build upon in the future.

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Review: Road Not Taken photo
Review: Road Not Taken
by Chris Carter

The term "roguelike" gets way too much airtime these days. If anything has permadeath, it's instantly a roguelike. If it takes place in a dungeon -- "roguelike!" But the original Rogue's core mechanical element was its grid-based gameplay, where every action by the player warranted an equal and opposite reaction, adding a puzzle element to the mix. 

Road Not Taken operates very closely to the formula of the original Rogue, but doesn't really hold that premise as well as it should throughout.

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Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Nemesis photo
Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Nemesis
by Chris Carter

Look, $50 is a lot of money for a Season Pass in a first-person shooter. If it was just comprised of 16 maps alone, no matter how good they were, it probably wouldn't be worth the money for all but the most diehard of FPS fans.

But thankfully, Infinity Ward has made amends for the rather bland core package of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the Nemesis map pack is no exception. In addition to four solid maps, there's another chapter of Extinction, the developer's out-of-this-world take on Treyarch's zombies.

Because of these packs, I'm actually a bit more excited for Infinity Ward's follow-up in two year's time.

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Review: Sacred 3 photo
Review: Sacred 3
by Alasdair Duncan

"I love it."

The specter of Diablo looms large over the action-RPG genre; most games borrow heavily from Blizzard's seminal game and those games' success is usually judged on how close they stick to the formula and how well they execute on that.

"Oh baby."

While it's tempting to praise a game for breaking away from some of the genre's conventions in order to make itself stand out from the crowd, Sacred 3 has stripped away so many of the things that make an APRG fun. Stats? Pretty much gone. Loot? Almost none. A really enjoyable combat system? Nope.

"Sexy!"

Oh, and there's people talking wince-inducing garbage over the whole thing.

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Review: Steel Empire photo
Review: Steel Empire
by Chris Carter

Steel Empire is a game that not many people were able to experience, sadly. As a child, you likely only had access to either a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, which cut out a ton of potential classics for you to play and cherish as time's cold embrace passed you by.

I was very lucky to experience it for a few brief days attending a friend's house many years ago, and now, thanks to the magic of porting, everyone can give it a go on the 3DS. As long as the price point isn't too rich for your blood, you should jump on this opportunity.

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Review: Gods Will Be Watching photo
Review: Gods Will Be Watching
by Alasdair Duncan

Gods Will Be Watching is a tough game. It puts the player in positions that they'd rather not be in and asks them to make difficult choices. In order to succeed at a mission, you may have to do unthinkable things, betray your morals, and become a monster just to survive a little longer.

It's also tough in another sense: the game is bloody hard. 

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Review: Battle Princess of Arcadias photo
Review: Battle Princess of Arcadias
by Kyle MacGregor

A pastime needn't necessarily be transcendent to make for an experience enjoyable. So long as there's a hook, something to keep one captivated throughout the journey's duration, it's easy enough to look beyond some frayed edges and just enjoy the ride.

In the case of Battle Princess of Arcadias, the hook never really manifests. The action role-playing game casts out some nice ideas, but none are quite compelling enough to really reel one in.

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Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas photo
Review in Progress: Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas
by Chris Carter

When many Warcraft fans hear the name Naxxramas, it conjures up memories of late nights and pizza, while taking on the tough-as-nails raid in World of Warcraft (or as I know it, Naxx). It was one of the most enjoyable areas of the franchise lore-wise, as it focused on some of the more nefarious villains in the series' realm.

Archlich Kel'Thuzad returns as the big bad in Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, but you won't be able to fight him right away. Yep, that's right, each "wing" of the DLC will unlock over the course of five weeks, and although the first wing is free, each wing will cost in-game currency or real money.

It's an interesting way to deliver DLC, and so far, it's more than enough to get me back into Hearthstone.

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Review: Sokobond photo
Review: Sokobond
by Darren Nakamura

Chemistry is governed by a definite set of rules. Opposite charges attract, like dissolves like, matter is always conserved. There are more rules than just those, but one of the great things about the study of matter and its interactions is that if one truly understands the rules and laws governing chemicals, he can predict outcomes given a set of preconditions.

In that sense, Sokobond has even more in common with chemistry than it lets on. Though it boasts that no chemistry knowledge is required to play, it too runs on a specific set of rules, and any player who internalizes those rules can find success in-game. As a fortunate side effect, any who spend time connecting atoms in Sokobond might just learn something about chemistry too.

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Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: Amid the Ruins photo
Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: Amid the Ruins
by Chris Carter

The last episode of The Walking Dead was probably my favorite one yet -- and that's including all of Lee's tale from the first season. Clem has made the switch from tough to full-on badass depending on your choices, and it's clear that she is fully a part of some of the horrific life-or-death choices in the world.

Clem can no longer hold onto her innocence and fall back on her young appearance -- at this point, many decisions have been made that cannot be taken back, and the rest of the group is starting to notice it. That hook right there is what makes Amid the Ruins such a great tale, even if it doesn't have the same wow factor as its predecessor.

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Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Sunken King photo
Review: Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Sunken King
by Chris Carter

2014 has been very good to me, but Dark Souls II is one of my favorite games of the year. Many debates have raged on as to whether or not it's as exceptional as its predecessor (Demon's Souls is better than both), but having played it prior to launch without any hints or guides, I heartily enjoyed getting lost in its labyrinthine tunnels and deadly arenas.

The Crown of the Sunken King DLC expands that goodness by about five to ten hours depending on your skill level, and even if it's one of the less remarkable levels in the game, it's still worth playing.

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Review: Squids Odyssey photo
Review: Squids Odyssey
by Darren Nakamura

Splatoon might be getting a lot of hype for Wii U squid battling, but it is not the first game featuring a squid squad to grace the console. Earlier this year, Squids made its jump from iOS to the Wii U with Squids Odyssey, and it even blazed a trail for cross buy on Nintendo systems.

Squids combines two disparate gameplay elements: tactical role-playing and skill-based slingshot physics. Squids Odyssey takes the original game, the sequel Squids Wild West, and adds in even more levels, characters, and hats into an impressively large package. That said, the package seems better suited for mobile than home console.

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Review: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty photo
Review: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
by Chris Carter

One of the first games I ever played on PlayStation was Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. I remember opening up the jewel case, adorned by a creepy looking creature with his mouth sewn shut, with no idea of what to expect. Over the course of the next few weeks I became acquainted with that creature called Abe, and slowly made my way through the difficult puzzle platformer at a slow, but steady pace.

2014's New N' Tasty is basically a recreation of that same experience from 1997, for better and for worse.

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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing more Frontlines PVP and of course, more hunting.

Over the past week and a half I've tried just about everything there is to try, and I found that overall, it's getting people to do a diverse array of content -- as opposed to 2.2 which generally funneled people into a few venues. It's not the most balanced patch, but it adds a ton of stuff to do other than grind out end-game tokens, and I'm sure that makes a lot of former subscribers happy.

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Review: One Piece Unlimited World Red photo
Review: One Piece Unlimited World Red
by Chris Carter

One Piece games are kind of up in the air at this point in terms of quality. Just when I thought Pirate Warriors had solidified that seal of quality from the franchise, Romance Dawn snuck up and stole most of that good will.

Thankfully One Piece Unlimited World Red is not only a much more valiant effort by a completely separate developer (Ganbarion), but it avoids the trap of having to re-explain the story all over again, as Red is an original tale.

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Review: Abyss Odyssey photo
Review: Abyss Odyssey
by Alasdair Duncan

One thing you can't accuse Chilean developer ACE Team of doing is ploughing the same, well trodden ground as other indie devs. Its debut hit Zeno Clash combined a surrealistic art style with first-person, melee combat, while the studio's follow-up title, Rock of Ages, combined Super Monkey Ball with a Monty Python-esque romp through classical history. 

Abyss Odyssey is the studios' third original title and again, its setting is unique from anything else I've seen in videogames. The structure of the game different, too -- a combination of procedurally-generated levels, 2D platforming, intricate combat systems and online, community-driven progression. It doesn't always fit these elements together seamlessly but when it does, Abyss Odyssey still has that "just one more go" factor.

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Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

MMOs are constantly evolving beasts. Particularly in the subscription realm, developers are always searching for ways to keep players hooked, usually in the form of major updates -- big content patches that help ease the wait between even bigger expansions. The latest MMO to get an overhaul is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is seeing its "Defenders of Eorzea" patch this week, bringing up the current version of the game to 2.3.

Since this update is even bigger than the vast majority of $60 retail releases, I'll be looking at everything it has to offer to supplement to our already existing review of A Realm Reborn, which covered up to patch 2.2.

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Review: 4PM photo

If you're like me, then you'll have staggered out of a pub, wandered home, and then tried to fill in the blanks but, like a favorite song of mine says, it's just the best bits that are colored in.

I can't honestly say there's been nights out where I've drawn a total blank but I know my mates and co-workers have repeatedly needed me to fill in the blanks ("You mean you don't remember swearing at the boss, then throwing up in the corner?") and that's never fun.

Caroline, the protagonist in 4PM -- a short interactive story from developer Bojan Brbora -- is having one of those days. What happened last night, why is the room spinning, and shouldn't she be at work?

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Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn  photo
Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn
by Brittany Vincent

When I was a kid, I loved watching Gundam Wing and the original Mobile Suit Gundam on Cartoon Network. The mecha genre has always been a personal favorite of mine so I tried to capture the same feeling while playing a video game as I had watching Gundam anime and pretending that I was Heero Yuy or Amuro Ray.

With interest in Gundam on the rise in the US after the Cartoon Network runs, some of the games were finally localized for North America. I thought I’d finally be able to play through the stories I loved so much, picking up Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo as soon as it came out and the disappointment I had in that game resonates with me today. It sure didn’t feel like I was in command of the mobile suit that won the One Year War. I felt like I was in control of a robot-shaped RC car.

Luckily, I was finally able to find the game that would finally reproduce the warm and fuzzy feelings that viewing Gundam for the first time did so long ago, and who would have thought it would have come in the form of a Dynasty Warriors game?

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Review: MouseCraft photo
Review: MouseCraft
by Darren Nakamura

At first glance, MouseCraft reminds players of two classic puzzle games: Tetris and Lemmings. The pieces are there on a superficial level. Three mice walk blindly forward under a specific set of rules; meanwhile, the player rotates and places tetrominoes to aid in reaching the goals.

That is where the similarities end. The mice themselves never take on any special roles, and the tetrominoes do not disappear when fit together in a line. Indeed, a lot of the puzzles require that the blocks do not fit snugly together, which runs counter to conventional play with them. MouseCraft is very much its own puzzle game with its own puzzle premise, and that premise is pretty good.

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Review: The Wolf Among Us: Cry Wolf photo
Review: The Wolf Among Us: Cry Wolf
by Chris Carter

The Wolf Among Us has been one hell of a ride. Although Tellltale's The Walking Dead managed to craft a grimdark world worth seeing time and time again, Wolf has a more nuanced take, with larger-than-life fairy tale characters who have decidedly human problems.

All of it comes to an end here with Cry Wolf, the last episode of the series. While I'll refrain from spoiling anything in particular, I will say that is indeed a satisfying conclusion.

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Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels) photo
Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing WildStar over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our Reviews in Progress program.]

As we all know, MMOs can drastically change not only over the course of months of updates, but even from level to level. We have already given you an early look at the first 20 hours or so of the game, but as I climb the ladder of leveling more and more starts to open up.

Let's take a look at levels 14-30.

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Review: Monster Monpiece photo
Review: Monster Monpiece
by Brittany Vincent

Too often, unique and engaging games are passed over due to their risqué content and gimmickry, and Monster Monpiece is inevitably one that will fall victim to this curse.

It's not difficult to see why some may be turned off by it, though -- despite the fact that it's a strategic card battler, it's also rife with many of the same tropes that will turn members of even its target audience off: like "rubbing" illustrations that happen to resemble young women and engaging in adult situations. But beneath the trappings of a fluffy "adult" game is a challenging and entertaining card game that's quite fun.

And believe it or not, that's actually the main attraction. 

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Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall: Intercept photo
Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall: Intercept
by Kyle MacGregor

Killzone: Shadow Fall was a respectable launch game. It showcased the power of the nascent PS4 with scintillating visuals, and paired its aesthetic beauty with a competent campaign and sound multiplayer component. 

The shooter wasn't exactly a revelation, but the glossy sheen, at the very least, provided a fine entrée to the new generation. It's been nearly a year since then, and Guerrilla Games has kept the lights on with a myriad of alternations and enhancements, the most recent of which has arrived in the co-operative expansion Intercept.

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Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted photo
Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted
by Alasdair Duncan

"Man is the most deadly of prey" -- whoever said that probably never thought they'd be chased around the desolate British countryside with robotic dogs snapping at their heels.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is the debut game from Big Robot Ltd., which initially saw a release on Steam's Early Access program in August 2013 and after a steady stream of updates, has finally hit a full release as Version 1.0.

The team is headed up by Jim Rossignol, formerly a writer for both PC Gamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. While at both outlets, he wrote many articles proclaiming his admiration for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and there are plenty of similarities to be found in Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Both games have you traversing bleak landscapes in search of scattered items, all the while avoiding powerful enemies. 

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