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Ubisoft bringing Watch Dogs, Child of Light, more to PAX East


You can't play Watch Dogs, but you can watch Watch Dogs
Mar 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ubisoft is the first major player out of the gate to reveal their lineup of content for PAX East next month. On the AAA front, fans can't play it, but they can watch Watch Dogs be played in a never-before-seen demo. Plus ther...
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Mojang still making buttloads of money from Minecraft


$128 million in 2012
Mar 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Buttload. It's totally a phrase.  Mojang, the makers of the runaway hit Minecraft, doubled their net income in 2013 according to The Wall Street Journal. They made $128 million last year, and revenue wise they saw 38% fr...
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Dust

Dust: An Elysian Tail passes one million sales


Niiice
Mar 03
// Jordan Devore
A bunch of us liked Dust: An Elysian Tail and it puts a smile on my face to hear that the game wasn't merely a critical success. Creator Dean Dodrill tweeted over the weekend that the game had passed one million units sold ac...
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Pac-Man

Pac-Man Museum out today for PSN, XBLA, and Steam


Includes previously arcade-only Battle Royale
Feb 26
// Jordan Devore
Pac-Man Museum, released today on Steam, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade, caught my eye this morning. It was my first time hearing about the game and the $19.99 price stood out. What could a compilation like this po...

Review: Double Dragon: Neon

Feb 14 // Patrick Hancock
Double Dragon: Neon (PC [reviewed], PSN, XBLA)Developer: WayForward, Abstraction GamesPublisher: Midnight CityMSRP: $9.99Release Date: February 6, 2014 (PC)  Double Dragon. Billy’s girlfriend, Marian is kidnapped. Get her back. Story. The plot is barebones because, well, games of this time and genre always had barebones plots and this is really a re-telling of the original Double Dragon tale. The story advances through some in-game actions at the end of levels along with lines of voice work interspersed throughout the levels themselves like “I have to find Marian!” Special praise goes towards Skullmageddon, the pun-loving antagonist in Double Dragon: Neon. His voice work and dialogue are so damn amazing that each encounter is something truly special. The ending, in particular, is something you won’t forget any time soon. In the beginning, players may think that Neon has “clunky” controls. Things seem to happen sluggishly, regardless of what your fingers are doing. You see, the controls take some time to really understand. They’re “clunky” on purpose. Everything has some weight to it, even running. It’s deliberate, not clunky. Mashing buttons, which is common in the genre, is sure to result in a swift death. Think of it like a fighting game: everything has a certain amount of frames, and that’s how long the move takes. Like a fighting game, a player who understands the controls will be pulling off some “bread and butter” combos to defeat even the most common of enemies. The first enemies encountered are no joke: if they manage to pull off their combo (two hits), you’ll be down about half of your health. Half! On Normal difficulty! Give it time, and after a while you will be executing very intentional combos that really feel satisfying. [embed]270593:52601:0[/embed] At the core of the gameplay is the dodge mechanic. A perfect dodge results in “Gleam,” significantly increasing the damage of all attacks. Even without perfect dodges, evading attacks is absolutely crucial because as I mentioned, one mistake can lead to a lot of health being taken away. If a direction is pressed while dodging, the player will roll in that direction. Mastering the dodge is the first step to mastering the combat. When playing cooperatively, both players can high-five each other. This is a mechanic in the game. Players can high-five to gain health or earn Gleam, chosen by the initiating high-fiver. But be careful! Your bro can totally psych you out and leave you with nothing!   In addition to punches and kicks, there are special moves, called Sosetsitsu, which can be collected and used. In order to unlock Sosetsitsu moves, a player must first collect cassette tapes from defeated enemies. The more tapes of a specific Sosetsitsu collected, the more powerful that tape gets. This means that your favorite Sosetsitsu might be significantly weaker than others, due to nothing but dumb luck. On the other hand, this situation may encourage players to use Sosetsitsu moves that they would otherwise ignore, adding more diversity to their playstyle. These moves use an energy bar, and each moves uses a different amount of energy. There are also Stances, collected in the same way. These are passive abilities, usually in the form of stat increases. Some will have specific conditions, like increases attack power in correspondence with consecutive hits, while others will straight up increase a player’s defense. Like the Sosetsitsu moves, these are acquired and improved by collecting tapes. Double Dragon: Neon supports fully rebindable keybind controls, but regardless of which keys were used I couldn’t get comfortable playing on a keyboard. Once I began using an Xbox 360 controller, however, everything was much better off. It doesn’t natively support controls outside of the Xbox controller, so keep that in mind when jumping in. This game is the '80s. It’s a beat-'em-up with cassette tapes, bright neon lights and colors, and over-sexualized men and women, the latter occasionally screaming “punish me!” as they die. Everything about the aesthetic acts like a time machine to an era saturated with hair metal, jean jackets, and Rubik’s cubes. The game is also absolutely hysterical. As mentioned, Skullmageddon steals the show every single time he’s on screen. Enemies cartwheel on screen yelling “GYMNASTICS!” Billy will ask “What the butt?!” when trying to use a key on nothing. It’s as campy as Adam West’s Batman on a camping trip in the best of ways. Super special mention has to go to the game’s audio. Jake Kaufman is absolutely brilliant. It evokes classic '80s metal and arcade games simultaneously, fitting the game’s theme perfectly. In what might be the best thing ever, each Stance and Sosetsitsu has its own jingle to go along with it for when the player hovers over it. These jingles are, to put it bluntly, completely mindblowing. They’re simple, stupid, and again, contribute to the overall campy '80s feel of the entire game. Without Mr. Kaufman, Double Dragon: Neon would fall painfully short of being “the complete package.” With him, the game is elevated to a level that very few achieve. Not everything is perfect in this PC version, however. There seems to be some stuttering after playing for a certain amount of time, likely due to a memory leak. Rebooting the game solves the problem, but that doesn’t absolve the issue. Online multiplayer is also included in this version, but from my experience, the lag makes it unplayable. Considering how demanding the combat system is, input lag is nothing short of a death sentence. In addition, it is possible to join someone else’s game at any point, without being able to filter. When I searched for a game, I joined someone who was in the process of fighting the final boss, even though my save file was still on level three. Had I not already beaten the game, I would have been pretty upset considering how delightfully wonderful the finale is. If you don’t want anything spoiled, host your own games. I fear that a lot of people will give up on Double Dragon: Neon too early, either because it “isn’t real Double Dragon” or because of the “clunky controls.” I encourage you to stick with it, because Neon truly is one of the best games in the genre from any decade. It’s got humor, visual flair, excellent gameplay, and a brilliant soundtrack. Some technical problems hold this version back from being near-flawless, so it might be in your best interest to grab a “bro” and team up in local multiplayer, high-fiving each other until your hands bleed. I think Double Dragon: Neon can be summed up perfectly using a jingle from one of the game’s Stances, titled "Training Wheels": "Dad took off my training wheels, boy oh boy how good it feels!"
Double Dragon Neon review photo
Grab a bro
Beat-’em-ups are quite the strange genre to me. I grew playing many of them: Simpsons, X-Men, and Turtles in Time in the arcades were my jam. In fact, I’d say they are still my jam. That said, it’s easy to r...

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Far Cry

Far Cry Classic coming to US, launch date revealed


Arriving one day earlier than in EMEA territories
Feb 07
// Harry Monogenis
Ubisoft announced Far Cry Classic quite a while ago, but things quickly went quiet -- which is understandable, seeing as how most people were too focused on news coming out of E3 to really care too much. That change...
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Blood of the Werewolf heading to XBLA and PSN


Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche heading to Steam
Jan 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Majesco's indie label, Midnight City, has announced that Blood of the Werewolf is heading to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network Q2 2014. The Metroidvania-style game was released on Steam last year, and the console relea...
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Deals

Xbox Live deal: Dark Souls, Tales of Vesperia, D&D


Worth a look
Jan 22
// Jordan Devore
The Xbox Live deal of the week features a strange group of games, but strange can be good. These discounts are valid until Monday, January 27 for Gold subscribers: Dark Souls ($4.99) Tales of Vesperia ($4.94) Powerstar Golf ...
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Microsoft still missing the point of 'free-to-play'


Happy Wars can be played by Silver members now, kind of
Jan 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Happy Wars is one of the handful of free-to-play titles on Xbox Live. It's free-to-play if you're a paying subscriber of Xbox Live Gold that is. Well Happy Wars was finally made playable for non-paying Silver members, kind of...
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Lara Croft

Guardian of Light's free now for Xbox Live Gold members


You have two weeks
Jan 16
// Brett Makedonski
It's time for another predictable but helpful bi-weekly reminder that a new game is free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. This time, it's 2010's Summer of Arcade title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Of course, this offe...
Far Cry bundle photo
Far Cry bundle

Europe is getting a much better Far Cry bundle


Far Cry: The Wild Expedition
Jan 09
// Jordan Devore
Ubisoft's Far Cry Compilation for PlayStation 3 -- which includes Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon -- has been outdone by ... Ubisoft. Europe is getting a bundle of its own, dubbed Far Cry: The Wild Expeditio...
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Assassin's Creed Liberation looks way better in HD


No duh
Jan 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Assassin's Creed Liberation is making the jump from handheld to consoles and PC. Liberation HD is completely remastered visually, and Ubisoft released some new screenshots to show off how much prettier the game looks. Otherwi...
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Rekoil comes out this month on PC and Xbox Live Arcade


Oh look, another first-person shooter
Jan 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Plastic Piranha's Rekoil is coming out at the end of this month. Expect the Windows PC version on January 28 through Steam. The Xbox Live Arcade version is titled Rekoil: Liberator, and that's out January 29. Each version wi...

Review: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

Dec 29 // Wesley Ruscher
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Press PlayPublisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: December 20, 2013 (Xbox One) / 2014 (Xbox 360)MSRP: $14.99 For Max, it’s quite clear that nothing annoys him more than his nerdy little brother. After coming home from school one day, our titular hero finds his sibling playing in his room and quickly getting on his nerves. Fed up, Max turns to the Internet and stumbles upon a spell that, after reading aloud, opens up a portal in his room where a giant monster’s hand reaches through and snatches away his little nuisance. Though relieved for a moment, Max quickly comes to the realization that the impending ramification from his parents outweigh the benefits of being an only child again. So without hesitation, Max jumps into the portal in pursuit, which leads to a fantastical new world. As he comes to, Max sees his brother off in the horizon being taken away by the horrifically large creature that grabbed him, and thus Max’s journey begins. [embed]268141:52041:0[/embed] This all takes place within the first few minutes of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. A game that wastes no time throwing players into a world of wonder that’s full of puzzles to unravel and suspense to be had. As the adventure begins, you traverse the whimsical landscape akin to any 2D platformer of yesteryear. Max moves at an adequate pace, and can jump and climb basic obstacles with ease. The first five minutes or so are designated as an introduction to Max’s control and the overall responsiveness to the physics behind his movements. But you won’t pay too much attention to all this as it is all cleverly hidden as you move through the game’s beautiful environments. For the most part, Max’s controls are typical for the genre aside from using his nifty magic marker -- which is assigned to the right analog stick and each trigger depending on whether one is drawing or erasing. Typically, having to draw shapes in the midst of action with anything but a touch/stylus based interface would be considered cumbersome, but Max: The Curse of Brotherhood excellently balances its action and puzzle sequences. And when the two do collide, it is usually met with some Matrix-style slowdown that reduces the stress of having to make just the right shape in the nick of time. The game takes a minimalistic approach towards showing players how to use each of Max’s skills, while also teaching how everything isn't as innocent as it seems at first glance. For example, as you make your way through the beginning area, you most likely will fall prey to a tumbling rock. It’s somewhat of an unfair death -- as only those familiar with the stage are going to know it’s coming --  but  it teaches a valuable lesson without bogging down the gameplay with tedious tutorials. The game is full of these moments, but thanks to the way it nurtures throughout, you’ll often be prepared for them and always feel heavily rewarded when you make it through unscathed. But even if you fail, the game is more than generous with its checkpoints, reducing unnecessary retreading. As you start to earn Max’s main skills -- which additionally serve as the game’s main draw -- each new ability is presented in a manner that slowly lets players become accustomed to their intricacies. Armed with a special magic marker, Max will eventually gain the ability to create pedestals from the earth, vines to swing from, conform roots as platforms, and create currents of water to propel himself to new heights. As you learn to use each power, what starts off merely as tools to assist Max in his platforming escapade, eventually become useful aides in finding every hidden secret placed throughout the game. The ability to make branches into platforms eventually evolves into creating movable platforms, battering rams, and even weights in order to solve some fairly obtuse puzzles. Eventually, each skill begins to accentuate other skills adding even more depth to the platforming and puzzle solving. While ultimately the puzzles may fall on the simple side of things, they never ruin the pace of the action, and more importantly, they make you feel accomplished upon completion. In the end I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. It’s a game full of wonder and magical moments, that while light on actual narrative, still delivers a world that is hard to forget. The visuals are Pixar-esque charming and the combination of cerebral puzzles with thrilling action offers up a bite-sized experience that is a welcome addition to the Xbox One’s library. If you’re looking for a change a pace, I couldn't think of a more fitting way to finish off this gaming year.
Max reviewed! photo
Magically hits the mark
As the eldest of three, there have been more than a few occasions in my life where I wished my siblings would just disappear. Whether it was from them breaking my things; disrupting my privacy; or as I grew older, the embar...

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Sales!

Sunday gaming deals: Steam, Xbox, and more


Treat yourself or someone you love to an early Xmas gift
Dec 22
// Wesley Ruscher
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! There are gaming deals going down today only, this very Sunday. Well really they are just today's deals of some on going sales over at Steam, Green Man Gaming, and at XBox... but hey, we're lazy and we...
Xbox sale photo
Xbox sale

Castlevaniamania takes over today's Xbox sales


What a fantastic night to have a sale
Dec 20
// Brett Makedonski
Today's Xbox Live sale is just like your old drinking buddy that got a girlfriend and can't be bothered to make time for you anymore -- totally whipped. Three Castlevania titles and a whole lot of downloadable conte...
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Xbox One

Xbox One gets Max: The Curse of Brotherhood tomorrow


Worth a look, honestly
Dec 19
// Jordan Devore
The more I think back to what I've played of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, the more I want to try the platformer again. To best it. The game was unexpectedly challenging in a good way. It's getting something of a surprise re...
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Minecraft

Marvel characters are coming to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Ed.


Money maker
Dec 18
// Jordan Devore
I don't know that I fully grasp the appeal of premium skins in Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, but I was never one to buy crap for my Avatar, either, so I'm clearly not the intended audience. If I were, however, these characters...
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Xbox sale

Day two of the Xbox sale is all two-dimensional


Except Fez is kind of 3D, I guess
Dec 18
// Brett Makedonski
The second day of Microsoft's annual end-of-year games sale puts 2D explorative indies in the spotlight. Terraria, Fez, and Spelunky are all on discount for approximately $5, $2.50, and $3.75 respectively. These are...
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Marvel vs. Capcom

Marvel vs. Capcom games to be pulled from PSN & XBLA


Games to leave online stores beginning December 17
Dec 15
// Wesley Ruscher
Capcom has announced, that by year's end, both Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will no longer be available on the PSN and XBLA stores.  While no specific date is listed -- in the post over ...
Minecraft photo
Minecraft

Minecraft sells 10 million on Xbox 360, plus a DLC sale


Most packs are half price this Saturday
Dec 13
// Jordan Devore
Damn. 10 million copies of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition have been sold to date. I'd say the person responsible for initiating the deal that would eventually lead to this version coming about deserves a raise, or a pat on the b...
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Deals

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is $3.74 in Ubisoft XBL sale


A handful of great XBLA titles discounted
Dec 10
// Jordan Devore
Now thorough December 16, a selection of Ubisoft games are reduced in price on Xbox Live. The standout offer here is Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, a game much better than its name would suggest. That's down to $3.74, which is i...
Capy photo
Simultaneous 2014 release with Xbox 360 if all goes well
No, Xbox 360s haven't magically become irrelevant now that the Xbox One is out, but developers are starting to make the transition all the same. For a game like Super Time Force, it makes total sense that it would release ac...

Xbox 360 photo
Xbox 360

Here are Xbox Live's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals


Some discounts are in effect now
Nov 26
// Jordan Devore
Major Nelson has the full list of Xbox Live deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday over here, but if it's simply the highlights you're looking for, look no further. Now through December 2, there's Skyrim, Dragonborn, and Daw...

Review: Foul Play

Nov 21 // Patrick Hancock
Foul Play (PC [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: MediatonicPublisher: Devolver DigitalRelease Date: September 18, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Foul Play follows the adventures of Baron Dashforth, a mustachioed demon hunter. He takes after and looks up to his father, who was in this line of work before him, and the game takes place as a series of flashbacks as Dashforth slowly but surely discovers clues relating to the whereabouts of his father. It's a decent way to allow the player to experience a wide variety of locales without random transitions in between. As a plot, however, it's incredibly thin and uninteresting. The game's entire shtick is that it is an on-stage theater play, complete with an audience, spotlights, and all-too visible stagehands. The story is split into five Acts, most containing five Scenes to break them up. Each one has a new aesthetic to it, which is easily one of the highlights of the game. There's also a healthy dose of humor through the visuals as well as the dialogue, which luckily hits more than it misses. [embed]266109:51496:0[/embed] But whatever! This is a beat-'em-up, right? Plot serves little purpose outside of the occasional laugh here and there and to spruce up and change the setting. All that really matters is how great it is to "beat them up." Unfortunately, Foul Play does nothing to distinguish itself from the other classic games of the genre. Players can dodge, parry, attack, and launch, with minor variations sprinkled in as the story progresses. Players will need to utilize each maneuver constantly, yet playing through a single act can still feel like a slog. The on-screen moves certainly look flashy, but actually performing them is tedious. The health bar is actually a crowd interest bar, as there is no "dying" on-stage. However, if you put on a poor performance and get hit a lot, those curtains are closing. A star rating rates how well you are playing, and there's a "super move" that will really win over the crowd for a certain amount of time. Every encounter in Foul Play feels exactly the same. If here are no big baddies, it boils down to mashing the attack button, launching one or more enemies in the air, and occasionally parrying to avoid damage. If there is a big baddy, either the roll will be utilized or more parrying will take place. Rinse and repeat for every single battle that isn't a boss fight. Occasionally you will pull off a combo that makes you feel like a badass, though those moments are too few and far between. The biggest issue here is the complete lack of enemy variety. Each new act introduces a few new enemies, but the only difference is their look. They all function the same, and as such are dispatched in the same way. Sometimes enemies will attack, sometimes they will shoot something, and sometimes they will grab. Oh, and the big ones can butt stomp but usually they just swing their big weapon. This also leads to a lack of difficulty. Once the player understands how the enemies are defeated, it's just a matter of repeating that ad nauseam until the screen is cleared. Any semblance of difficulty comes from throwing a massive amount of simple enemies at the player, instead of using more complicated enemies to force the player to use their skills in new and interesting ways. The bosses are certainly a welcome change to the monotony, and are legitimately interesting to fight. They each have their own little quirks that do actually force the player to think differently. Rarely are they difficult, but simply the change in schedule is enough to make them stand out in a sea of grey. There are also challenges for each scene, tasking the players to achieve a certain combo on a certain screen, or to kill the big baddie last during a specific moment. They're not particularly varied -- only a handful of original challenges are recycled -- but they're enough to keep the player attentive. Cooperative play, both local and online, is included but at this point, best of luck finding a stranger online to play with on PC. It's also only cooperative for two players, instead of the four that most players will be accustomed to. If playing on a PC, I can't recommend a gamepad enough. The game was clearly designed for an Xbox 360 controller, considering the in-game button prompts are Xbox buttons even when using a keyboard (the menu button prompts are changed, however). Otherwise it controls just fine, though the classic "Am I lined up with this guy so I can hit him?" issue still persists as it does with many other beat-'em-ups. If there is one thing that demands the highest praise, it's the aesthetic. As mentioned, the game takes place entirely in a theater, and by gum they commit to the theme one-hundred percent and it pays off tremendously. Enemies are clearly guys in outfits; scene changes see background pieces taken away to make room for others; stagehands get caught in the scene; and "dead" enemies peek around to see if the scene is over or crawl off stage mid-scene -- these are all amazing examples of the how the aesthetic becomes the star. The music is appropriately old-timely and up-tempo, but the sound effects are lacking. Hitting enemies uses about two different types of sound effects and it quickly becomes noticeable. Foul Play isn't necessarily a bad game, it just doesn't do anything to prove otherwise. It is a by-the-numbers game with a brilliant aesthetic, which in the end is just a by-the-numbers videogame. It's too long for its own good, which only highlights the mediocrity even more as the same enemy behaviors are encountered for hours. The lack of depth hurts Foul Play the most, and it's really a shame considering how brilliant the aesthetic is. I wanted to run around the stage, but playing the game made me exit stage left.
Foul Play review photo
Yup, foul play
The beat-'em-up genre has some serious classics in it; Turtles in Time and Castle Crashers immediately come to mind. There’s just something about those games that cement them as amazing experiences in our mind. Playing ...

State of Decay photo
State of Decay

Two weeks until State of Decay's Breakdown DLC drops


Available on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade
Nov 15
// Jordan Devore
The first DLC for State of Decay is gearing up to release on Friday, November 29 for $6.99 on Xbox Live Arcade and Steam. Breakdown is more of an endless survival mode -- it's actually separate from the game's main story -- ...
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Gamerscore

XBLA games on Xbox One will have 1,000 achievement points


This is good, I think
Nov 14
// Joshua Derocher
It looks like the limit on Achievement points for Xbox Live Arcade games on the Xbox One will be rising to 1,000, instead of being only 400. On Twitter, PopCap Games tweeted that Peggle 2 will have a Gamerscore of 1,000,...
The Bridge photo
The Bridge

PSA: The Bridge crosses over to Xbox Live Arcade today


It's all a matter of perception
Nov 13
// Brett Makedonski
I've heard there's a whole lot of hullabaloo right now surrounding fancy schmancy next-generation systems. If you're a console gamer that's not wrapped up in that hot fuss, there's a title that's landing on Xbox Live Arcade ...

Review: Final Exam

Nov 12 // Wesley Ruscher
Final Exam (PC, PSN, XBLA [Reviewed])Developer: Mighty Rocket StudioPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveReleased: November 5, (PC, PSN); November 8, 2013 (XBLA)MSRP: $9.99 Mighty Rocket Studio’s 2D beat em’ up, Final Exam, wants to fool you into thinking it’s not another game centered around a zombie outbreak. For starters, the ghastly crew of abominations plaguing the world are referred to as “monsters.” But one would be hard pressed to see them as any anything other than stylized versions of the zombies from the Left 4 Dead series, once the action breaks outs. Being that this is a arcade game, it does not take long for the proverbial shit to hit the fan either. As a group of friends -- who would never in a million years actually hang out with each other -- head off to their high school reunion for some good old nostalgic times, the fun has to be put on hold when they, literally, come crashing into a horde of monsters. It's a simple set up, but then again this game is all about smashing and blasting anything dumb enough to get in your way. On its surface Final Exam appears to be your run-of-the-mill side-scrolling brawler. There are four characters to choose from, each starting out with their own affinities to certain play styles (explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and guns) and a set of zombie-esque monsters to slay over the course of eight stages. Combat is pretty straight forward too with melee attacks regulated to one button and guns and explosives set to the right stick (for aiming) and shoulder buttons for firing. It’s fun, for what it’s worth, in short bursts, but over the course of the game, it begins to wear thin. Mighty Rocket Studio aims to keep their title fresh; with basic RPG stat development, character skill trees, and environments that lend themselves to limited exploration for new weapons and collectables. Unfortunately, monotony sets in rather quick. Combat becomes the same combo strings over-and-over (regardless of melee weapon equipped) and ranged combat offers little variance. [embed]265479:51306:0[/embed] Levels additionally flow the same each time. Environments are typically multi-floored to allow the freedom to go in any direction, and while this could have been used more cleverly -- possibly hiding alternative routes and other secrets -- it's unfortunately used to send players on fetch quests. One level you may be rescuing and carrying children to safety and the next collecting samples, but regardless of what you're doing it all blends together in the end. Really the only shining light to the game’s level design are the few throwbacks to other old school arcade game genres tossed in the mix. There’s a shmup style boss fight and something akin to Space Invaders tossed in, but they are too few and far between. There is decent assortment of enemy fodder to to dismantle though, ranging from rampaging monsters to acid spitters, but by the end of the game you'll be quite sick of them. Enemies constantly come in swarms, and respawn over time, which causes any uniqueness they have to wear itself thin. What escalates the repetitiveness the most, and perhaps the game’s biggest shortcoming, is the reuse of environments. Nothing is worse than doing the same stuff on repeat in the same location. Multiplayer does little to fix anything. Local play is limited to two-players, with online supporting four, but over time the enjoyment of playing with others teeters off into just more monster mashing. Upon completion a timed survival mode unlocks (kill as many enemies without dying in seven minutes) as well as a harder difficulty to try out. If you're truly a sadist this will be up your alley, since the best scores for the leader boards come from playing at the highest skill challenge. I know I've painted a pretty grim picture of Final Exam, but I do want to state it’s not the worst of games. It does an admirable job bringing some modern systems into an old school brawler and at a more than affordable price. It controls well and the visuals are mildly entertaining with all the gooey giblets that are constantly flying around. It’s just  a game you'll go through once and never go back to again. To put it simply: Final Exam is forgettable.
Final Exam Review photo
Class dismissed
Eight years ago when Microsoft kicked off this generation with the Xbox 360, the concept of downloadable arcade titles on a home console was nothing more than a vision. With the Xbox 360 came the Xbox Live Arcade and one ad...

Spelunky photo
Spelunky

This solo eggplant run in Spelunky is a must-watch


Bananasaurus Rex does the impossible
Nov 11
// Jordan Devore
It's been some time since we've posted a Spelunky run on Destructoid but, I think you'll agree, this one is worth seeing. If you're familiar enough with the game to know about the eggplant -- it's earned by sacrificing a Mys...

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