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Review: The Order: 1886 photo
Review: The Order: 1886
by Chris Carter

The Order: 1886 opens up in a fairly gritty fashion -- a first-person sequence involving a near drowning, by way of water torture. It begins with a bang, thrusting you into this unknown, and frankly frightening world where half-breed creatures live among humans.

It's cinematic and gripping, and draws you into the world that Ready at Dawn and Sony have crafted together. But it doesn't really push the envelope from there, as the cinematic angle is prevalent in nearly every facet of the experience, often hindering gameplay.

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Review: Risk photo
Review: Risk
by Robert Summa

Typically, board games involving just dice aren't my thing. I don't like playing a game in which I feel I have no control in whether I win or lose.

Yahtzee is a prime example of this, while Risk is somewhere in between. Much like Monopoly, you do have to have some sort of strategy most of the time. However, because these games are so dependent on chance, those strategies often get thrown out the window.

With Ubisoft's newly released Risk for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, this is basically what you get. You can plan and plot as much as you want, but if Lady Luck isn't on your side, then you aren't going to win -- no matter what you do.

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Review: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse photo
Review: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
by Jonathan Holmes

Let's take a quick look at the history of videogames with clay-based graphics. Skullmonkeys is a one-off that most people don't even remember. The ClayFighter series has been dormant since the N64 days. Armikrog has been in development hell for years. That clay-based Loco Roco game for the PlayStation 3 never happened. Maybe worst of all, Dominique Pamplemouse is not yet a million seller. What the heck, guys!?

Looking at how few clay-focused games have made it to the market makes Kirby and the Rainbow Curse an even more interesting part of Nintendo's overall strategy. It's both safe and risky at the same time. This is not Kirby's first foray into the world of arts and crafts, and Nintendo has toyed with the idea of clay graphics before. The cover art for the first and last issues of Nintendo Power were made from clay, and a lot of the promotional material from EarthBound used clay models. It's clear that Nintendo has been toying with clay for a while, but Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the first time it has finally gone all the way clay. 

I hope it's not the last. 

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Review: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ photo
Review: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+
by Chris Carter

Japanese publishers have some truly confusing localization titles sometimes. In 2011, Namco Bandai released Ace Combat: Assault Horizon for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was a grittier take on the franchise that added real-world complexities to the established fictional formula, released to mixed reception.

For some reason in that same year Namco Bandai also dropped Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (the legacy is important, you see), which was basically a remake of 1997's Ace Combat 2 for the Nintendo 3DS. Now they've added a "plus" on the end and added amiibo support.

It still has nothing to do with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.

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Review: Blackguards 2 photo
Review: Blackguards 2
by Darren Nakamura

A few weeks ago, I called Blackguards 2 "deep, unfriendly, and buggy." I had put several hours into the tactical role-playing game, but hadn't seen enough of the story to comfortably put out a review.

Fast forward to today, and my original assessment requires a bit of tweaking. Within the first two weeks of its release, Daedalic put out two huge patches, each aiming to fix the stability issues that plagued Blackguards 2 at launch. The patches did introduce their own issues, but for the most part I would describe it now as only deep and unfriendly. Two out of three ain't bad.

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Review: Evolve photo
Review: Evolve
by Nic Rowen

Trying to pin down my exact thoughts on Evolve has been trickier than pinning down any kind of prey the game has thrown at me. I was cautious with my initial impressions of the game earlier this week, noting an uneven play experience that often feels like a frustrating runaround. While I'd love to say another few days of dedicated hunting and skulking was enough to iron out the kinks and worries I had, in the end this is one hunt you might want to sit out.

It's a shame, because when Evolve is firing on all cylinders, it has been some of the best multiplayer fun I've had in years. But those precious few moments are far too rare -- and far too laborious to set up -- to give Evolve an unreserved recommendation.

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Review: Super Stardust Ultra photo
Review: Super Stardust Ultra
by Chris Carter

Super Stardust has been around for a long time -- since 1994, in fact. Although most people know the franchise from Super Stardust HD, it was originally on the Amiga platform before it hit the big-time. Now developer Housemarque is back yet again with Ultra, which isn't really a new entry so much as a fresh coat of paint for the PlayStation 4.

Hardcore fans may feel duped by this not-so-sequel iteration, but newcomers who have long been curious about Stardust will want to jump in right with Ultra.

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Review: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D photo
Review: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
by Chris Carter

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is unlike any other Zelda game in the series. For instance, there's no sign of the franchise's classic villain Ganon, and no Zelda outside of a quick flashback reference.

It's also a decidedly darker affair, with strong themes of depression, anxiety, and general angst due to the impending end of the world. Heck, there's even straight-up voyeurism quest and the assumption of dead people's identities.

Majora has a lot of really cool ideas, and most of them are augmented by the slight upgrades found in Majora's Mask 3D.

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Review: Total War: Attila photo
Review: Total War: Attila
by Greg Tito

The horn sounds. Again and again. It's kind of annoying really, these vuvuzela m'fers blowing wind all through my dramatic victory on the fields north of Constantinopolis. Still, it does feel good. I am sacking the center of European civilization after all. I never liked those Romans anyway. Blow those horns, you barbarian bastards!

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Review: Unmechanical: Extended photo
Review: Unmechanical: Extended
by Darren Nakamura

Unmechanical has been available on iOS and PC for a few years now, but we at Destructoid have sadly neglected it for all that time. I have even personally looked at emails, thought "that looks neat," and then put it in the back of my mind until it was no longer relevant. It's time to rectify that.

Unmechanical: Extended is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It features the same three-hour experience as before, with an additional episode that adds another half hour or so of helicopter robot puzzle gameplay.

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Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
by Patrick Hancock

Ah, Monster Hunter. A game that ends up being more of a culture than anything else. These have always been games about community and self-improvement. Getting better isn't measured in some arbitrary number, but how well you can execute your talents. It also helps that as you get better your gear becomes increasingly more badass.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate doesn't tamper with the classic formula too much, but the additions here are certainly nothing to ignore. New weapons, new mechanics, and an incredible amount of monsters makes Ultimate more than just the "same old thing."

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Review: The Escapists photo
Review: The Escapists
by Chris Carter

Kenan: Kel, I'm going to need some chicken wire, some beeswax, a rooster, a few rolls of toilet paper, and a 5-Iron. We're busting out of prison today!

Kel: Aw here it goes!

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Review: Sunless Sea photo
Review: Sunless Sea
by Ben Davis

Adrift at sea in a massive underground cavern. No natural lighting to speak of. Your ship's hull has taken a beating from enemy cannon fire and giant crustaceans. Fuel and supplies are running low, but you might be able to survive the journey back home if you're willing to make some sacrifices. Your crew is growing scared and restless. You think you hear something moving under the water...

Sunless Sea is a game of choices. Will you risk smuggling illegal cargo to faraway ports if it means extra money for supplies? Will you offer sacrifices to the gods of the sea, or remain firm in your belief that your frightened, pious crew are just being superstitious? Will you resort to feeding on rats if you can't find anything else to eat? If it comes down to it, would you even be willing to eat your own crew if it meant you could survive another day? These are all questions you will eventually have to ask yourself if you ever hope to be victorious in the cold, dark waters of the Unterzee.

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Review: Grow Home photo
Review: Grow Home
by Ben Davis

Grow Home is another entry in Ubisoft's recent string of passion projects, in the same vein as Child of Light and Valiant Hearts. It started out as a tool for a small group of Ubisoft developers to experiment with procedural animation, and sprouted into an idea for a full-fledged game as the team began to notice how much fun they were having just messing around. It's a charming origin story for a very delightful videogame.

The cute and simple visuals reeled me in, planting a seed of interest in my mind which grew into satisfied enjoyment when I finally began to play it. Everything in Grow Home hits that perfectly charming tone, from the adorable character to the quirky gameplay mechanics. What's more, all of this can be enjoyed without having to worry about Ubisoft's unpopular Uplay service.

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Review: Dolphin Up photo
Review: Dolphin Up
by Ben Davis

Let it be said that I am not one to pass up a good dolphin game. Or even a mediocre dolphin game. Seriously, just give me some dolphins and I'm happy!

At first glance, Dolphin Up may seem like a mobile title, and that's probably because it actually started out on those devices. It's a sequel to Dolphin Olympics, and has been available on mobile markets for a couple years now.

Now it's finally coming to consoles years later with a Wii U release.

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Review: Pix the Cat photo
Review: Pix the Cat
by Steven Hansen

Pix is a mix of the two most saccharine basic emoticons, :3 and ^_^, a face for the forgotten mascot age. Just too cute, and not in a way that ever betrays the fiendish score-chaser underneath. Sincere cuteness. A real testament to the species post-Flicky.

Now it's all about the cat collecting eggs through panel after panel of the Grid of Infinity and depositing a growing tail of ducklings into safe little holes lest they remain, stuck, as infinite guests. 

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Review: Apotheon photo
Review: Apotheon
by Patrick Hancock

Apotheon is the newest game from the developers at Alientrap, the team behind a small game called Capsized. Now personally, I loved Capsized and think it was overlooked by most. It had interesting mechanics and a plot that wasn't told through lines and lines of dialogue. It left a huge impression on me and I knew to look forward to whatever that team did in the future.

Well, the future is now, and Apotheon is out. It certainly lives up to the high standard set forth by Capsized, and pushes the bar even further. With an art style that is bound to get people's attention, this is a game can keep the attention with rock-solid gameplay.

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Review: Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One photo
Review: Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One
by Chris Carter

I was skeptical of Sons of Anarchy at first, but once I realized it was Hamlet on wheels I was in. Its seven season run wasn't perfect (particularly the Belfast plotline), but it kept me thoroughly entertained throughout, wanting to check in every week to see where the Sons took me.

Having just ended the show, series creator Kurt Sutter likely wants to keep the good times rolling, with a potential prequel TV series, and now, a brand new adventure game called The Prospect

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Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords photo
Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords
by Darren Nakamura

I would not last a day in Westeros. My best hope would be to spend some time in Oldtown to train as a maester, and even though it would help to protect me from personally going to war, I would probably be too close to the political intrigue underneath it all.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Lost Lords is out, and now some of the seeds sown in Episode One are ready to harvest. As it turns out, I made all of the wrong decisions in Iron From Ice, and I continue to make all of the wrong decisions. With the path it is currently on, my version of House Forrester is doomed.

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Review: Brandish: The Dark Revenant photo
Review: Brandish: The Dark Revenant
by Kyle MacGregor

Antiques possess a magnetic quality, an appeal to our imaginations, a false nostalgia for a time most of us are too young to remember. There's a comforting allure to these relics. They offer a window into the past, a living history. It's a connection, however tenuous, to where we came from, a place to which we've never visited or cannot return. 

Brandish: The Dark Revenant is an antique, something of a refurbished one. Falcom's classic role-playing game began its life as a PC release in 1991. It would later come to SNES, and was then remade in 2009 for PlayStation Portable, albeit only for Japan. Now, more than a half-decade later, a localization has finally arrived on western shores. Better late than never.

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Review: #IDARB photo
Review: #IDARB
by Jason Faulkner

I'm not a huge fan of most indie games. There I said it. I find most of them derivative and lacking in quality, and I hate when quantifying a game I have to say, "It's a great indie game," as if that fact gives it an excuse for being less engaging or of lesser quality.

The duality of this is every once in a while an indie title comes around that blows my mind with how fun/clever/unique it is to the point where some of my most beloved experiences in gaming are with FTL, Out There, Little Inferno, Papers, Please, and now #IDARB.

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Review: Nihilumbra photo
Review: Nihilumbra
by Greg Tito

There's a nugget of a solid game here in Nihilumbra. Unlike many of the PlayStation Vita's offerings, it uses the touchscreen in a novel way that doesn't feel tacked on or forced. And the puzzle-platforming is supported well by an ethereal art style, score, and sound design.

You just have to wade through a jumble of pseudo-philosophy to get to it.

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Review: Gunman Clive 2 photo
Review: Gunman Clive 2
by Chris Carter

I don't think anyone, including the game's creator, expected Gunman Clive to be such a massive hit. As an homage to retro platformers it was a joy to play, and the ridiculously cheap base price made it easy to take the plunge.

Gunman Clive 2 delivers pretty much everything you'd want out of a sequel, even if it doesn't push the envelope.

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Review: Life is Strange: Chrysalis photo
Review: Life is Strange: Chrysalis
by Brett Makedonski

"If I'm not looking through a viewfinder, I'm looking through a window. Always looking."

Max Caulfield, the introspective protagonist of Life is Strange, spends her life searching, observing. Actually, it might be more akin to wandering. She's 18, a newly minted "adult." Everyone keeps telling her how much life has in store for her, but she's more intent on the short-term -- just surviving one awkward social interaction after another.

It's a situation that's easy to empathize with. Everyone's felt the uncertain pangs of adolescence, even the most sure-footed of people. Life is Strange gives the player a chance to walk in those shoes with Max -- to try to avoid the gaze of every set of judgmental eyes, and to skirt confrontational conversation lest things just get even worse. It can be weird and cringe-worthy at times, but, hey, doesn't that nicely sum up those formative years?

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Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Havoc photo
Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Havoc
by Chris Carter

Call of Duty map packs are definitely a mixed bag. Fifteen dollars is pricey by any standards, and the prospect of one or two remade maps and a grand total of four arenas isn't anything to get excited about.

Advanced Warfare's new Havoc DLC has just arrived this week on Xbox platforms, and it's par for the course in terms of what you'd expect. As usual though, zombies save the day.

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Review: Dying Light photo
Review: Dying Light
by Chris Carter

As you may have heard, we got our Dying Light review code pretty late. As in, the day before launch. A late show doesn't necessarily instill confidence in a project, especially since a lot of fans had no idea what to expect from Techland's latest.

It's strange that this situation even happened considering Dying Light is one of Techland's best games outside of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.

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Review: Grim Fandango photo
Review: Grim Fandango
by Steven Hansen

Grim Fandango didn't need a remaster as much as it needed a re-release. Many, myself included, have found it difficult to track down a copy to play. We've had an entire digital catalog--GOG.com--devoted to getting good, old games up for sale on a digital storefront, but no Grim Fandango?

The touch-ups are appreciated. You can switch between the original and remastered look at the touch of a button. The latter has some nice dynamic lighting and new character models, but I stuck mostly with the former for its more vibrant colors. The in-game commentary is a nice touch. The non-tank controls are welcomed (as is the cheeky trophy for playing with tank controls).

No bones about it, though, Grim Fandango holds up on its original merits as a stylish, humerus adventure.

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Review: Gravity Ghost photo
Review: Gravity Ghost
by Darren Nakamura

[Disclosure: Ashly Burch, one of the voice actors for Gravity Ghost, previously created video content for Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]

Traditional ghost lore states that spirits remain in the physical realm when they have unfinished business. That trope applies to Gravity Ghost's protagonist Iona. Less common are ghost stories about soaring between tiny planetoids to collect stars. So that's new.

It has been described in Internet shorthand as "like a 2D Super Mario Galaxy," but past the physics of elliptical planetary motion there is not a lot of similarity. Where Mario keeps on his toes to avoid traps and enemies, Iona's journey is a more zen-like experience of exploration and self-discovery. Gravity Ghost touches on some more serious themes and is more than just a platformer with unusual physics.

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Review: New Nintendo 3DS XL photo
Review: New Nintendo 3DS XL
by Chris Carter

Nintendo has an interesting history in terms of portables. Outside of the rare add-on like the expansion pack for the Nintendo 64 or the Game Boy Player for the GameCube, they play it rather conservatively when it comes to consoles.

But for their portable line, yowza do they go all out. Colors, new styles, paint jobs -- heck, it'll take you half a day to sift through this massive list of 3DS iterations. So here we are with the "New" 3DS, a moniker Nintendo has used far too often.

In this case, it's somewhat justified.

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Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.5) photo
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.5)
by Chris Carter

Final Fantasy XIV has come a long way. Although there wasn't any real endgame content to speak of when A Realm Reborn launched in its 2.0 incarnation, Square Enix worked hard to deliver in 2.1, and has continued to deliver in every major patch since.

With each update came new "Primal" (read: Summon) fights, all of which had an Extreme version to test the mettle of its playerbase. Now, the developer is gearing up for an expansion later this year, and the latest 2.5 patch has provided a ton of mid-level content, with no Extreme or proper hardcore raid in sight.

That makes this patch rather unique, and players of all skill levels will enjoy it.

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Review: Citizens of Earth photo
Review: Citizens of Earth
by Brittany Vincent

The Fifth Element came on TV the other day, and it really got me thinking about mise-en-scène versus characterization. It’s one of my absolute favorite movies, and is an exemplar of sci-fi in cinema without being too derivative of other works. The grittiness of futuristic New York, the contrast between earthtones and bright colors in the costume and set design, and the excellent choreography of the action scenes come together to make a great movie.

What’s a movie though without characters that entertain, blossom with personality, and can be empathized with? Would The Fifth Element be as entertaining without the bluster of Bruce Willis, the innocent sexuality of Milla Jovovich, or the ridiculous Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod? Can well-crafted artwork, concept, and background come together to make a good production regardless of the characters within it? Those are the questions that Citizens of Earth brought to mind.

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Review: Resident Evil HD Remaster photo
Review: Resident Evil HD Remaster
by Chris Carter

Playing the original Resident Evil was an experience. The mansion, the campiness, the mystery of it all -- before walkthroughs were easily accessible from all corners of the internet, getting lost was practically a given, and it was a blast.

Secrets were traded between us gamers, telling of hidden rooms and items, and most of them was accurate. The Spencer Mansion was a veritable treasure, and that couldn't have been more true for the subsequent GameCube remake, and now, the recent HD edition.

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Review: Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell photo
Review: Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell
by Brittany Vincent

There’s something about a series that doesn’t feel the need to make a ton of social commentary, or really feel grounded in reality. The Saints Row series is like if the worlds of The Naked Gun and Grand Theft Auto merged, and the result is a unique blend of zany comedy, copious cursing, and ultraviolence. Saints Row: The Third is one of my favorite games of all time.

The series hit its peak there, with an almost perfect balance of the real, the absurd, and the fantastical. Saints Row IV was still a blast, but I felt it lacked the magic of its predecessor. So it’s understandable that I was therefore jaded by the time Saints Row: Gat out of Hell came down the pipe to review. But wherever you are and wherever you go, there’s always gonna be some light.

With that said, plenty of it shines through in this standalone expansion.

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Review: Funk of Titans photo
Review: Funk of Titans
by Chris Carter

Funk of Titans is not a very fun game.

But Brett Makedonski and I had a lot of fun talking about it.

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Review: Legend of Grimrock 2 photo
Review: Legend of Grimrock 2
by Patrick Hancock

The first Legend of Grimrock was damn near perfect. Coming seemingly out of nowhere, it put a fresh new face on the dungeon-crawling genre. It was a game that didn't forget its roots yet also didn't forget that we live in a different time.

It's no surprise, then, that the sequel is absolutely stunning.

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Review: Assassin's Creed Unity: Dead Kings photo
Review: Assassin's Creed Unity: Dead Kings
by Brett Makedonski

If our time spent wandering the Parisian streets in Assassin's Creed Unity has taught us anything, it's that Arno Dorian is a self-serving man. Almost all of his actions, whether aligned with the cause of the Brotherhood or not, weren't altruistic, but rather, efforts for personal gain. With his attention wholly divided between personal vendettas and the apple of his eye, Arno was the least sympathetic model for role-playing Assassins since, well, last year when Edward Kenway held that mantle.

Given his affinity for all things Arno, it should come as no surprise that the Dead Kings add-on extrapolates upon that theme heavily. While Ubisoft dialed up the protagonist's selfish pretense, it took pause with the gameplay and varied it up moreso than the base game.

That is, as much as can be expected with the tried-and-tested Assassin's Creed formula.

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Review: Super Mega Baseball photo
Review: Super Mega Baseball
by Chris Carter

Like many people out there, I learned how to play most sports through videogames. By the time I entered various real-life leagues for baseball, basketball, and football, I had a grasp of the basic concepts of each, mostly thanks to classics like Bad News Baseball and Super Baseball 2020, two of my personal favorites.

Super Mega Baseball seeks to remind us of that retro arcade-like era of sports, where the games were mechanically sound, but more exciting than a hardcore simulation.

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Review: Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition photo
Review: Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition
by Chris Carter

When I was younger, Duke Nukem 3D had a "parental lock" option with a passcode. Naturally, as any inquisitive child would do, I backed up my save files, uninstalled the game, re-installed it, and set up a new jibberish password that way my parents would assume they forgot the code or there was an error with the game.

With or without the adult content, Duke was one of my most cherished shooters. Although it is decidedly dated by today's standards, its massive 10-weapon loadout featured a ton of diversity, and the environments contained some of the best hidden areas in the genre, even today.

It's a bit of a relic, but Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is an endeavor worth pursing if you have any interest in first-person shooters, and can deal without a handful of modern conveniences.

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Review: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham photo
Review: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
by Caitlin Cooke

Don’t let the name fool you -- this is by no means a Batman game. The Dark Knight may grace the box, but underneath its bat-enameled shell lies a Justice League game at heart. A menagerie of DC heroes and villains combined steal the show in this installment and take us far away from the streets of Gotham.

Despite this identity shift, the game still manages to provide a decent amount of content, features, and unlockables -- perhaps at the expense of more crucial mechanics.

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Review: Escape Dead Island photo
Review: Escape Dead Island
by Brittany Vincent

In my years as a freelancer and staffer at various videogame outlets, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a ton of great games. In fact, this year I had the privilege of reviewing pretty much every “AAA” game that hit stores. I also review a lot of garbage, or games that are fundamentally broken in one or more aspects. Games that only through providence made it out of QA.

I always try and remember though that every game, whether it’s an EA blockbuster or a one-man indie project, was someone’s baby. No matter what game you talk about, there is at least one guy or gal out there who put their all into it, even if the rest of the team couldn't be bothered to exert much effort. So I always try to approach criticizing a game from that angle. Escape Dead Island is a special case though. 

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