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Activision to publish Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse


May 07
// Conrad Zimmerman
Activision and Fox announced today the impending arrival of a new Family Guy game. Inspired by the season 8 premiere episode, "Road to the Multiverse," Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is currently in development ...
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I'VE SOILED MY TUNIC! COMPLETELY BY CHOICE! That's right! You heard me! WayForward will be making a game based on Cartoon Network's Adventure Time, and I couldn't possibly be any happier! This is, like, the perfect marriage e...

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New trailer for Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock


Feb 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
I'm still waiting for a really good Doctor Who game. The BBC-produced episodic adventure game released last year does not qualify, as far as I'm concerned, but there's hope for The Eternity Clock. Due out next mont...
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Reminder: Alvin and Chipmunks here to kill my childhood


Nov 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
Here's a little video reminder that Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is coming to theaters and that there is a game based on said violation of nostalgia. Said game is available in stores now. It's particularly egreg...

Review: NCIS

Nov 03 // Maurice Tan
NCIS (Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3, PC, Wii)Developer: Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftReleased: November 1, 2011MSRP: $39.99 The NCIS game is set during season 9, or just after season 8. It's been one year since Ziva David has passed her U.S. citizenship exam and even Anthony DiNozzo Sr. (voiced by Robert Wagner who plays him in the TV series) makes an appearance. During four seemingly unrelated episodes the NCIS team has to solve cases ranging from a casino robbery, a bank robbery masking an Arab country's embassy break-in, the murder of an officer in an Iraq military compound, and finally some circumspect deaths surrounding the arrest of DiNozzo's father in Dubai. As a mini-arc of sorts, all cases come together in the end to unravel some TV-logic terrorist plot. If you watch NCIS, you know what to expect. The structure of NCIS is pretty similar to the CSI games and so is the gameplay. Instead of only moving your cursor around to select points of interest, you now move a character with a cursor. It gives you a bit more of an emotional connection to the characters of the show than a mere cursor does, although you'll still just move a cursor around crime scenes to select stuff, or point Abby to a lab machine to work her magic. While the crime scenes feel a bit like CSI-lite, due to all evidence being gathered by simply taking photographs and nobody wearing gloves, there is still some occasional pixel hunting to find that last piece of evidence. Contrary to the CSI games, you'll always have an on-screen indicator of your progress as a percentage and it's impossible to miss anything before moving on. Back at the NCIS office, Abby and McGee will do their respective things. That means they will do the kind of mini-games the CSI games had, but this time around they are a lot easier and a lot clearer. It's impossible to mess anything up; although you can run out of tries -- indicated by Caf-POW drinks -- you can always restart these sections without losing anything. Playing as McGee you'll perform some simple memorization and reaction mini-games to "hack a database" that you'd think NCIS would have access to (like conference logs from Naval Command), or keep a reticule over a moving vehicle as he tracks it with his satellite. Abby's job involves grabbing fingerprints from evidence and doing analyses. Chemical analysis simply involves matching shapes to a spectrometer output, while bullet casing and fingerprint analyses are a matter of matching the evidence to the correct image. Everything is like the CSI games at heart, but there are a couple of differences that set NCIS apart. For one, everything is much, much easier. As in: it's impossible to fail throughout the entire game. Anyone can play and complete it; the only reason not to complete it is if you get too bored or frustrated with not being able to find that last bullet in a crime scene. The interrogations now only require the press of one button in a QTE (it's the same button every time) to keep the pressure on and sometimes confront subjects with evidence that conflicts with their statement. This evidence is no longer just one piece of evidence out of dozens, as was the case in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy for instance, but now it is complete and clear proof of something. Whenever Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (the only other person to be voiced by the TV show character's actor), McGee or Abby has run through all the evidence with their analyses, Gibbs will tell them to "DEDUCTION BOARD!" and combine evidence they've analyzed on the Deduction Board -- that big screen they always use in the show when they are explaining how things are connected to the case. This prompts a matching of evidence that usually makes sense to match, sometimes restricting the player to combine obvious matches until you have made other prerequisite matches first. After you match two connected pieces of evidence, you have to select the right answer as to why they are connected. The other answers are always ridiculous, like "<Terrorist guy's name> just loves America," so again this is hard to mess up. When you've connected enough evidence on the Deduction Board, it becomes proof you can use to confront people during interrogation. Besides the CSI mini-games receiving some simplification, the NCIS universe treatment and a visual make-over, the game on the whole feels more like an NCIS game than CSI: Fatal Conspiracy felt like a CSI game. Characters will interact more during and outside of gameplay, giving you the impression you are watching the NCIS team doing their job at your command instead of being a nameless CSI employee, and sometimes there is some hilarity between DiNozzo and Ziva. The series' comedy flair makes an appearance here and there, but the game is a bit more serious than a random episode of the current season of NCIS. Apart from the occasional jokes and banter, the characters don't act like complete clowns and the only reference to Bert the farting hippo is in the loading screen logo. Ziva is really, really dumb in the game, though, and not funny or charming at all. Of more inadvertent comedy value is the act of moving objects around on crime scenes. You'll be prompted to press a button and move the thumbstick to one location in order to move a box, slide a door open, or have DiNozzo push Ziva upwards so she can make a picture. But if you don't move all the way to the indicated direction, the characters will move back into their original position. You guessed it: you can move back and forth for some inappropriate and sometimes hilariously juvenile non-canon character animations. Silliness aside, the added interaction between characters and the increased clarity of mini-games throughout the game gives NCIS what it needs to be better than the past CSI games. That doesn't mean it's a great title or an example of what this type of game should be like -- L.A. Noire is still the best example of the detective adventure genre -- but it's better than you'd expect it to be, even though any veteran player will scoff at the further reduction in difficulty and the game's 4-5 hour playtime with no replayability to speak of. Achievement and trophy whores can be pleased, though, as there's now no way to mess up getting that 1000/1000 or Platinum trophy in this game. Graphically it is a marked improvement over previous CSI games, even if it still only looks "okay" at best. For what it sets out to do NCIS does the job with its virtual counterparts of the team, although Abby looks even creepier than in the show. Some might find the lack of blinking eyes disturbing, too. There is also one satellite tracking mini-game in the third case that is ridiculously hard due to the default controller sensitivity; a strange oversight given that the entirety of the game feels tailored for a casual player. Likewise, this default sensitivity can sometimes make it a bit hard to find evidence on the crime scenes with a controller. It might sound like this is just some stupid game that you can't believe anyone would play, let alone buy. But you know what? There's an incomprehensible addictive quality to NCIS. It's all too easy to keep playing it until an episode is over and even then it's easy to immediately jump into the next episode. Sure, it won't astound anyone but the game does provide a very solid NCIS experience for fans of the show that don't play a lot of games -- if any. NCIS is the best of Ubisoft's series of licensed forensic adventure games, which admittedly may not mean that much depending on your gaming preferences; you just have to accept that it was made for a very specific audience. If you don't care about NCIS or virtual points, there's really no reason at all why you should ever play this. Just like there is little reason to play any Naruto game if you hate Naruto, or Dark Souls if you can't stand dying. This is the kind of game you can easily give to an elder family member if they are a fan of the show, without ever having to explain how it works. It offers a couple of casual evenings worth of extra NCIS entertainment with your favorite characters, and for some fans that might be just what they want.
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After the drop in quality between 2009's CSI: Deadly Intent with its crazy cases and the plain mediocre CSI: Fatal Conspiracy in 2010, it appears Ubisoft has moved development of the similar and new NCIS game from Telltale Ga...

Review: The War of the Worlds

Nov 01 // Conrad Zimmerman
The War of the Worlds [PS3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)]Developer: Other OceanPublisher: Paramount Digital EntertainmentReleased: October 25, 2011MSRP: $9.99 (800 MS Points)  The War of the Worlds tells a similar story to the one found in H.G. Wells' classic novel, though with different characters and set in the mid-twentieth century. Our narrator, Arthur Clark, must make his way across the burning city of London as a martian invasion fleet is attacking. Throughout the game, the plot advances with past-tense narration from Arthur, expertly voiced by Patrick Stewart (who lends considerable weight and dignity to a decent script), and radio broadcasts discovered in stages. Presented as a 2D side-scrolling game, Arthur runs, jumps and clambors across debris, over and through buildings and even one of the martian towers. The faded, largely black and white visual design is effective at being a bit on the creepy side. Shadowy tripods, barely visible through fog, march in the backgrounds and look really cool. Some foreground elements don't really hold up their end of the bargain, though. Arthur's movements, for example, are serviceable but seem unnatural and most of the already alien invaders look really out of place against the environments. It does help in the sense that your eye is drawn towards active elements in the game but that's merely a silver lining. Arthur is a common man and not the sort of super-powered figure we're often accustomed to playing in games. He can run, jump, crouch and roll but that's about it for his repertoire until acquiring an axe mid-game (and even then, he's no warrior). He's frail to the point where falling more than twice his height could mean death and is no match whatsoever for the advanced weapons of the martians. About half the game is spent hiding from spotlights or running from them when stealth isn't an option and the timing on these sequences is nice and tight. Maybe it's a bit too tight at times. There are a few parts where the timing can be so exact that death can happen dozens of times before you get it right, the margin for error so low that it's hard to believe you haven't made it. The War of the Worlds provides checkpoints within levels where you'll return when Arthur bites it and they're very frequent but it can be frustrating for those without patience for this kind of action/platform game. When you aren't running or hiding under a piece of rubble in the hopes that a flying saucer will pass you by, there are some light puzzle sections featuring the deadly black smoke choking the city. It seeps into buildings and you must be quick to use switches that open and close doors and vents to escape. Occasionally, you'll have to explore a bit to find your way through a structure, usually riddled with some sort of nastiness or another. Bloodsucking ivy and spiders hide in these places, the only two enemies in the game that give you reasonable opportunity to defeat, and provide challenging obstacles. There's another, altogether weirder puzzle in this game which is rather interesting because it actually does force you to think outside of "switch A opens door B." I don't want to spoil anything about this particular moment, as I find it to be the highlight of the game and much of its charm lies in the discovery.  The reason the puzzle is interesting is that it's wholly different from anything else in the game and all the pieces are there for you to discover. You can figure out what needs to be done based on several clues but it won't hold your hand and just point out the way. That one puzzle is very refreshing. The rest are pretty basic, with environmental hazards likely to be a greater impediment to success than figuring out what the correct course of action is. The martians are doggedly persistent in their objective to exterminate all human life. Tentacles with sweeping laser beams will pop through walls to clean out rooms where they think you might be hiding. Being seen by a spotlight from a saucer means you have little time to move, though it is possible to escape them. Some of the best thrills from this game come from areas where you're being pursued.  It's decidedly from the old school and some of the stickier problems of classic platformers it pays homage to (such as Out of this World or Flashback) are present here. Arthur moves stiffly until you can get him going and has a hitbox that does not always seem clearly defined. The War of the Worlds is thankfully forgiving when it comes to grabbing ledges, which is a step in the right direction. The War of the Worlds winds up being a competent action/platform game in the end, and a fun one for fans of the genre. The debatably antiquated gameplay style and mechanics might be a turn-off for some, but those who enjoy those trappings should be satisfied.
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In 1898, H.G. Wells published a tale of invaders from another world, descending upon Earth's cities with a terrible force. The War of the Worlds has been adapted into every form of media since that time, including a couple of videogames. The latest attempt to tell the story has arrived on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, bringing tripods and heat rays with it.

Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Oct 27 // Maurice Tan
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (PC, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS)Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftReleased: October 20, 2011 (EU); December 6, 2011 (North America)MSRP: €49.99 At its heart, Tintin is not so much a children's game as it is somewhat of a throwback to the old 2D Prince of Persia and Another World games. The vast majority of the game sees you controlling the boy reporter with his questionable fashion sense as he side-scrolls his way from room to room. The basic trappings of platforming are all here. Jump, climb up ledges and ladders, wall jump off conveniently placed walls, or even hit a baddy with a few punches. The platforming itself is a joy to play, with just the right mix of cartoon and realistic physics to make it feel like you're really in the world of Tintin. Combat often offers you the choice to go in as a brawler, or to sneak around enemies and instantly take them down from behind. Occasionally you'll come across enemies who shield themselves with an armor suit or an umbrella, requiring you to use throwable objects like beach balls and explosives or luring the enemy to a slippery section on the ground, making him go "wee-wee-wee-wee-boing!" If you just want to pummel enemies head on, then in most cases you can, but there's always the option to take a more elegant approach by using your surroundings and this adds a lot more fun for the more experienced players. The 2D sections use some clever 3D to give you access to hidden paths for collectible Golden Crabs and make it feel like the world has some more volume than it appears to have. Whether you're a kid or an adult, these sections are a blast and thankfully they'll have you occupied for most of the game. At other times you'll move out of a 2D section to follow a corridor in 3D, and this is where you notice that the game is much better off with its 2D gameplay. It's meant to switch the perspective around a bit and keep things varied, but none of these sections ever add anything other than the obligatory "run from danger towards the camera" bit. While the swap to playing Snowy can be fun to play here and there, it feels more like he just had to be put into the game in some fashion -- sniffing paths and exploring sections Tintin doesn't fit in -- than that he's an integral character. Likewise, there are some plane flying levels where you'll evade obstacles and occasionally shoot at rocks or enemies. These levels sadly never offer anything that is solid in gameplay, expands upon the story or the world of Tintin, and quite frankly the flying was done a lot better in the Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole game. A few simple swashbuckling sections can take a little bit to figure out how to work the controls, as the analog stick suddenly moves your sword while your character is on rails. Slightly more entertaining are the various driving missions where you'll alternate between driving your bike and shooting at vicious Arabs/Berbers from the bike's sidecar. None of it is terrible to play, but neither will it blow you or your child's mind. It's just there to spice things up from the platforming and break the inevitable repetition, and at least it does that well enough. Still, the entire journey through the game's "Tintin" mode, in which you play through the movie's events, is an enjoyable and very family-friendly one. There's no drinking, no blood, and defeating enemies with retarded AI will just make them lie on the ground with their butt up in the air. Beyond the "Tintin" story mode, there's a challenge mode where you can play some more of the plane, swashbuckling, and sidecar sections. This mode also lets you use Kinect if you have the Xbox 360 version of the game, which offers some good family fun. Swashbuckling lets your inner child get its due, with on-screen prompts for where to hold your arm to block an incoming blow and flapping your arms around to slash at pirates in different directions. The sidecar and plane challenges are controlled by holding your arms out as if you're holding the handle bars or a steering wheel, respectively. The plane's shooting challenge is brilliant, though, since you can shoot down enemy planes by moving both your hands back and forth. The Kinect functionality doesn't offer enough to buy it for this alone, but if you're wondering which version to pick and you have Kinect, the Xbox 360 version is definitely the one to get. Tintin also has a very expansive co-op mode where Ubisoft Montpellier seems to have gone all out with the craziness. After the conclusion of the movie's story, Thompson and Thomson accidentally hit Captain Haddock in the head and this cues a wonderfully bizarre dream state for the drunken captain. Here you'll unlock level by level by playing through weird alternate versions of the game's locations, in which enemies make reflective remarks on being inside a dream. These co-op levels are of the 2D platforming kind and you'll have access to some new attacks like Tintin's hookshot that never appears in the story mode. You can choose to play it solo if you want, but to get all the collectibles you'll sometimes need a different character or a co-op partner, plus it's more fun to play it cooperatively. You'll also get a chance to play some of the side characters who each have their own special ability. Although you can probably breeze through Tintin's main story mode and spend an hour or two completing all the challenges, the co-op mode will offer at least a bunch of hours worth of extra content whether you play it by yourself or not. Moreover, the game does a great job at giving you that Tintin vibe and atmosphere of boyish adventure, despite the graphics reflecting that somewhat creepy look the characters have in 3D. It should be noted that Tintin can also be a bit of a dick in this game, though. He'll just barge into places without permission and steal other people's property without so much as a blink of an eye. If a servant is just there to protect his master's property he'll only get a black eye for his trouble. Or worse, be set on fire. I also don't really understand this obsession with having Tintin and enemies end up with their butt in the air when they are knocked out -- in various positions -- but c'est la vie. Putting that aside, there's a lot to enjoy in this game. The Adventures of Tintin may not be a fantastic game, but as licensed games go it's far more than decent. The different modes and variety in gameplay do not always reach the same level of quality, but the majority of it is a lot of fun to play for kids and adults alike.
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Ah yes, the movie games. For every G-Force there is a Thor. For every Rango you have a Megamind: Ultimate Showdown, and for every Captain America a James Cameron's Avatar: The Game. Like that last one, The Adventures of Tinti...

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War of the Worlds set to hit XBLA October 26th


Oct 14
// Brett Zeidler
Other Ocean recently announced through their Facebook page that their upcoming Patrick Stewart-narrated sidescrolling adventure, The War of the Worlds, will be hitting the Xbox Live Arcade on October 26th. PlayStation 3 and P...
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Here come the MIBs; Third film means new game coming


Oct 13
// Conrad Zimmerman
Activision has announced today that they will be publishing a new Men In Black game to coincide with the release of the upcoming Men in Black III this spring. The press release states that the title will release on,...
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More War of the Worlds footage to gawk at lovingly


Oct 13
// Conrad Zimmerman
Here we have the latest trailer for War of the Worlds. Once again, it's narrated by Patrick Stewart, so I know you'll watch it. He ruminates on how tiny we must look to Martians. It's all very excellent. I want to play this....
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Spongebob will never stop rolling


Oct 05
// Smurgesborg
SpongeBob and THQ have had a scarily successful career in the realm of videogames, and their reign of yellow terror shall continue with SpongeBob’s Surf & Skate Roadtrip on November 8th.  If you can't tell, the...
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There's a Puss In my Boot in my game


Sep 29
// Smurgesborg
Some of you may not know that they're making a Puss in Boots movie, and a coinciding video game will release alongside it. THQ has announced that they're working on the licensed title, and it will be a motion-controlled title...
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DreamWorks Super Star Kartz is a real game


Sep 07
// Jordan Devore
You would be forgiven for thinking that we, as a society, were past the days of random franchises getting kart racers. Activision has announced DreamWorks Super Star Kartz for enough systems to blot out the sun: DS, 3DS, Wii,...
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New 3DS games: Thor: God of Thunder & Captain America


Sep 01
// Dale North
Both Thor: God of Thunder & Captain America: Super Soldier were announced as new 3DS titles by Sega today. Both games were released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS earlier this year, and now the...
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Rambo videogame in development for PC and consoles


Aug 04
// Jim Sterling
In a case of stunning relevance, it has become known that a Rambo game is in development for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. A real one, not a joke or anything. Reef Entertainment recently nabbed the rights and can now make multipl...
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon almost here


Jun 14
// Conrad Zimmerman
And now, a launch trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. There is a fight which has just begun. some new evil has arisen. You get the general idea. This is likely going to be a pretty cool game if you're into the plot e...
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Live Show: Tron: Evolution ends tonight on Backlog!


May 20
// Conrad Zimmerman
Nothing like a nice, quick licensed game to cleanse the palette. We've been playing Tron: Evolution on Backlog for the last couple of nights and we're going to wrap things up this evening. It's clearly a short game if I ...
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How two studios are approaching Thor: God of Thunder


Apr 03
// Conrad Zimmerman
SEGA has released a new promotional video for Thor: God of Thunder, one of those behind-the-scenes jobbers where they interview developers. They discuss the approach that was taken towards making the battles of Thor appropri...
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Kung Fu Panda 2 has a boring trailer


Mar 30
// Conrad Zimmerman
I was genuinely hoping for something amusing when I opened up this new trailer for Kung Fu Panda 2. It is, after all, a comedy film. Instead, what I got was a toned-down Jack Black (not his forté) narrating over some ...
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Wondercon 11: Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters 3DS


Mar 24
// Dale North
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have just announced their first Nintendo 3DS title. Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is timed to release on all platforms to tie in with the upcoming film,...
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Huge beasts seemingly no match for the power of Thor


Mar 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
A pack of screenshots featuring the new game from SEGA featuring Marvel hero Thor has been released. You can see them below and I'd recommend you check them out. I have a cousin who, when she was a small child, was a bit of a...
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Acrobatics abound in Captain America screenshots


Mar 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
SEGA released these screenshots for their upcoming Captain America: Super Soldier game for PS3 and Xbox 360. He's leaping and kicking and swinging that indestructible shield of his in all sorts of directions.  I lik...
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SpongeBob Squigglepants sounds, well, kind of good


Feb 16
// Jordan Devore
So long as licensed games -- particularly ones aimed at younger audiences -- are going to exist, they might as well be good. While I doubt THQ's newly-unveiled SpongeBob SquigglePants will carry the same weight around these p...
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Activate interlocks! THQ to publish Voltron games


Feb 16
// Dale North
Ha! F*ck yeah, Voltron! THQ and World Events Productions are teaming up to publish a series of Voltron games based on the Voltron: Defender of the Universe cartoon series from our childhoods. This will tie into a revival of V...
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First details on High Moon's Transformers: DotM game


Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
The sequel to the commercially and critically well-received Transformers: War for Cybertron is still under way. Prior to that, though, there will be another licensed game; it shares the name of its movie counterpart: Transfor...
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Rumor: Dark Tower games show you fear in handful of dust


Jan 28
// Maurice Tan
An insider source of Ain't It Cool News has some info on the upcoming The Dark Tower project, claiming that there are "genuine plans" for a May 13th, 2013 release for the first movie, as well as "a very ambitious Game compone...
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Bleach: Soul Ignition gameplay is kind of disappointing


Dec 26
// Josh Tolentino
At least, that's the impression I get from the demo, which is available from the Japanese PlayStation Network Store right now. That's a bit of a bummer for me, as I was hoping for an HD Bleach game that could contend with th...
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Chair is no longer working on Ender's Game


Dec 14
// Jordan Devore
With all of the excitement surrounding Shadow Complex, I think most of us had forgotten Chair Entertainment was working on an adaptation of Ender's Game for digital distribution outlets. Little other than an emphasis on the f...
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Telltale launches Back to the Future Facebook game


Nov 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
To promote the 25th Anniversary of Back to the Future and their upcoming episodic adventure series based on the films, Telltale Games has released their first Facebook game, Back to the Future: Blitz Through Time. It's ...
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There's a Bleach PS3 game coming, here are pictures of it


Nov 15
// Josh Tolentino
What was once a blurry scan from an issue Shonen JUMP is now a series of slightly-less-blurry screenshots from a Sony product page. Of course, I'm referring to Bleach: Soul Ignition, a new game based on everyone's favorite ...

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