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Review: LittleBigPlanet 3 photo
Review: LittleBigPlanet 3
by Chris Carter

Back in 2008, LittleBigPlanet was a staple in the Carter household for a good year. It was tough to put down as we earned a full 100% completion rate, and creating levels for each other was a joy. Floaty physics hate be damned, not every level was a Super Mario Bros. clone.

When the sequel hit though, it didn't have a whole lot that was new about it to entice us further, and it fell by the wayside. Similarly, LittleBigPlanet 3 doesn't shake things up from the core formula, but the sheer commitment to keeping the level-building platform intact after all these years is something special.

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Review: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire photo
Review: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
by Brittany Vincent

For a franchise that’s continually berated for remaining the same over the years, Pokémon is wildly successful, having pushed forward on its own, full speed ahead. It hasn’t needed to change much to sweep the nation with each new release, though some of the series’ newest releases have received criticism due to lack of content. Pokémon X & Y hit the 3DS in 2013, enticing us with gorgeous new scenery, brand new monsters.

However, X & Y, although introducing the new Mega Evolution element, were otherwise lackluster when it came to post-Elite Four content and seemed a bit of a step back feature-wise. Game Freak is remedying the situation by releasing a Pokémon game that's been celebrated as having a plethora of features and is a perennial fan favorite. Oddly enough, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire feel like a much more complete experience than the original titles or X & Y.

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Review: Never Alone photo
Review: Never Alone
by Brett Makedonski

A cursory glance at Upper One Games' Never Alone, while sure to impress, won't do it justice. Its appeal is obvious, but its intention is buried shallow under a light dusting of snow. But, it's that intention that transcends Never Alone from another gorgeous 2D platformer to a game of great importance.

Never Alone is the rare example of a title that aims to bring culture to its audience without forcing it upon them. It skirts the oft-annoying "edutainment" category by being a game first and foremost, but is nevertheless adept at instilling a sense of curiosity about history and beliefs of the people on the screen. The execution is undeniably flawed at times, but not enough so as to undo what it strives for -- to teach, and to make that process enjoyable.

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Now's a nice time to buy a Wii U: Here's everything you should know photo
Now's a nice time to buy a Wii U: Here's everything you should know
by Steven Hansen

[Bumping this guide from July 2014 as-was in anticipation of Smash Bros. week, the holidays, and some new Wii U owners. The only good "Black Friday" deal for the console seems to be $360 from Best Buy with Smash, Donkey Kong Country, Mario 3D World, and Nintendo Land.]

Even if you must play all the Hot New Games, you don't need a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One to do so until 2015. Enough of them are still releasing on PS3 and 360 this fall. The rest, on PC (and, for some of us, handhelds). 

With the recent release of Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros., you might consider buying a Wii U, though. 

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Review in Progress: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor photo
Review in Progress: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
by Chris Carter

I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since it launched in 2004, but the Burning Crusade expansion came at the perfect time in my life. Throughout the years I've been dabbling in the other expansions, leveling up my characters and only stopping to raid mostly in Lich King before taking it casual.

If my first 20 hours or so with Warlords of Draenor are any indication, I might get back into it.

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Some quick thoughts on Grand Theft Auto V for current-gen consoles photo
Some quick thoughts on Grand Theft Auto V for current-gen consoles
by Chris Carter

Grand Theft Auto V was one of my favorite games of last year, mostly due to the insanely fun Heist missions in the campaign, and the detailed sandbox of Los Santos. It suffered from some of the same trappings as every GTA and the online portion left much to be desired, but I had an enjoyable time overall.

Although I received it late, I got a copy of GTA V for the Xbox One early this morning and dug right in. So far, I haven't found any real problems with it.

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Review: Five Nights at Freddy's 2 photo
Review: Five Nights at Freddy's 2
by Nic Rowen

It feels like only a few weeks since Five Nights at Freddy's managed to completely ruin my childhood memories of family restaurants and dancing animatronics. The creepy horror/resource management game put you in the shoes of a night security guard at the world's worst Chuck E. Cheese's knock-off and made sure you'd never look at those restaurants the same way again after viewing them through the distorted lens of static-ridden security cameras.

Now, just after I've managed to sweep up the jagged psychic debris of that disaster, they want me to spend another fun-filled week at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza.

Let the chorus of "nope, nope, nope" begin.

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Review: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1 photo
Review: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1
by Jordan Devore

Mario Kart 8's first DLC pack has Link riding a horse-shaped bike called the Master Cycle. And, good lord, Mute City from the beloved but still dormant F-Zero series. Also, a track based on Excitebike with a killer remix. Are you even going to read this review?

Don't answer that. Let me have this moment.

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Horrible words we should ban from videogame titles  photo
Horrible words we should ban from videogame titles
by Steven Hansen

Lords of the Fallen and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just came out and they should be laughed out the damn building for their horrible, generic videogames names.

I originally typed "Armored Warfare" and was confused when Google failed to bring up results for our "Call of Duty: Armored Warfare" review. Then I realized it was "Advanced Warfare" after remembering I kept getting it confused with Advance Wars originally.

DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM?

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Review: Far Cry 4 photo
Review: Far Cry 4
by Chris Carter

Far Cry 3 was one of my favorite games of 2012. It didn't stray too far from the normal sandbox conventions set before it, but gallivanting around beautiful island vistas and flying about with wingsuits was pretty damn fun.

For some that wasn't enough, though, and for those folks, Far Cry 4 won't be enough either. But for me, it's still pretty damn fun.

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Super Smash Bros. is the most fun I've had fighting online photo
Super Smash Bros. is the most fun I've had fighting online
by Patrick Hancock

I love fighting games. Well, I love pretty much all competitive games, but fighting games are some of the most satisfying. Pulling off combos (or kombos), discovering new "tech," and watching the metagame develop are all super exciting! I've played and enjoyed plenty online: Super Street Fighter IV, BlazBlue, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Divekick, Skullgirls, and even Smash Bros. Brawl.

But none of them have matched the enjoyment I've had in my short time playing Smash Bros. for 3DS online. Allow me to explain.

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Review: Assassin's Creed Rogue photo
Review: Assassin's Creed Rogue
by Brett Makedonski

Ever since its 2007 debut, the Assassin's Creed franchise has been presented as a one-sided affair. Chronicling the persistent struggle between the Assassins and the Templars, Ubisoft has always framed the story casting the former in a positive light. Assassin's Creed Rogue has a new take on that formula, which, in some ways, makes it the most refreshing, thought-provoking, and introspective installment in the series to date.

Unfortunately, it's also the laziest.

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Review: Tales of Hearts R photo
Review: Tales of Hearts R
by Kyle MacGregor

The Tales series may not have the same cachet in the West as do other prominent role-playing game franchises, but its renown is definitely on the rise. Bandai Namco has expressed more confidence in the franchise in recent years, showing a willingness to push Tales as a global brand rather than just a curiosity for Japanese audiences.

It seems there's a market for this sort of thing -- a healthy niche that appreciates something more antique in a world so obsessed with pioneering and being cutting-edge. Time marches on and the Tales series digs its heels into the ground, refusing to yield to fads and ephemeral trends. It's old-fashioned to a fault. But would you have it any other way?

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Review: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth photo
Review: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
by Nic Rowen

In 2011, I lost a chunk of my life. An insidious tendril of addiction, despair, and obsession caught me by the ankle and dragged me into the The Binding of Isaac's darkened basement. I lost dozens of hours, whole days at a time. I let life slip by around me while muttering a demented mantra of “just one more try, just one more try...”

Now with the release of Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a 16-bit looking half-remake, half-sequel of the original, I can feel the same cold touch on my leg. Its grip is stronger than ever, pulling me back into the same dark pit. I should kick and scream and try to escape... Well, maybe just one more try won't kill me.

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Review: Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Review: Assassin's Creed Unity
by Chris Carter

Assassin's Creed IV was a turning point for the series. While a lot of fans were disappointed by the pointless Revelations and the polarizing Assassin's Creed III, Black Flag delivered everything you could possibly want from Ubisoft, and then some. Fans embarked on quite the adventure with Edward Kenway, and many newcomers even described it as "a pirate game that happens to be Assassin's Creed."

Assassin's Creed Unity doesn't live up to the new standard set by Black Flag, but it's a journey worth taking if you're already into the series, and proves that the franchise is still sustainable.

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Review: Dragon Age: Inquisition photo
Review: Dragon Age: Inquisition
by Chris Carter

Dragon Age II felt like a great action game that was outsourced to a lesser developer. It lacked the polish BioWare typically puts into its titles, and almost the entire affair felt like a gigantic step back from everything Origins had established. What was once a promising franchise that reminded me of the glory days of RPGs such as Baldur's Gate became a shadow of its former self, with lazily re-used assets and no sense of scale.

BioWare went back to the drawing board with Inquisition, the third Dragon Age outing, and the game is all the better for it. It feels like a culmination of its predecessors' strengths, with all of the bells and whistles that come with current-gen hardware.

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