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Review: Neverending Nightmares photo
Review: Neverending Nightmares
by Nic Rowen

Mental illness is terrifying. Depression is a soul vampire that will suck the light right out of you. Obsessive compulsive disorder does not make you a supernaturally great detective like it does in the movies. It makes you paranoid and agitated, a raw nerve constantly scraping against a coarse world. The insidious, pervasive terror of mental illness can be far more horrifying than any chainsaw-wielding maniac could ever hope to be.

Which is exactly why Neverending Nightmares works.

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Review: Heavy Bullets photo
Review: Heavy Bullets
by Caitlin Cooke

The security system in Highrise Hunting Grounds has gone rogue, and you’ve been sent to shut down the mainframe. With only six initial bullets, you must fight your way through eight levels of neon jungle rife with lethal spiders, turrets, bush worms, and feisty cat-balls.

It’s a good thing your bullets bounce back, because you’ll need them.

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Review: Skylanders: Trap Team photo
Review: Skylanders: Trap Team
by Chris Carter

Toys For Bob has found some rather interesting ways to evolve the Skylanders franchise. While the conceit the first time around was simply interactive toys, the developer mixed things up with giants on the second go, and with a mix-and-match concept (my personal favorite to date) after that.

Trap Team is the fourth iteration of the series, and the gimmick this time around involves tiny plastic pieces that essentially function as little Ghostbusters tools to ensnare enemies. While the core game is still as strong as ever, the trap mechanic isn't all that exciting.

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Review: Costume Quest 2 photo
Review: Costume Quest 2
by Alasdair Duncan

The original Costume Quest was a seminal game for Double Fine; it was the first game to come out of Amnesia Fortnight, a two-week period of experimenting with small-scale games. Costume Quest's success led the way for Stacking, Iron Brigade, and other download-only games. 

Now, Costume Quest 2 is here just a few weeks before Halloween and it's delivering the same fun as the original. It may be a little too similar in some spots, but there are plenty of improvements to satisfy fans.

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Review: Driveclub photo
Review: Driveclub
by Dale North

Driveclub was supposed to be a launch day title for the PS4, but it was delayed for a while, pushing back until now. We got our hands on it at the E3 following the PS4 announcement last year and thought it needed more time in the oven, so a delay was actually welcome.

But that was a long delay. So, how much of a difference has a year made? 

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Review: Natural Doctrine photo
Review: Natural Doctrine
by Kyle MacGregor

Natural Doctrine is a strategy role-playing game with a sadistic side. It's a brutal and uncompromising experience, one keen on taxing players and pushing them to their limits with its intense difficulty.

The architects behind the title invite comparisons with Dark Souls, and have certainly built a similarly steep hill to climb. Natural Doctrine is enigmatic and soul-crushing, but lacks execution and awareness. Simply being tough as nails doesn't make an experience rewarding.

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Review: Tappingo 2 photo
Review: Tappingo 2
by Ben Pack

As someone who has gone through several Picross apps on his iPhone, I was excited to hear about Tappingo 2, a puzzler for the 3DS in the same vein. Maybe this would be the perfect game for my long train rides.

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Review: Alien: Isolation photo
Review: Alien: Isolation
by Chris Carter

From the old school "20th Century Fox" opening to the first few seconds, Alien: Isolation wants you to know that it takes after the first film from the series it was based on. One alien, one spaceship, one chance at survival.

This is the game we should have gotten from Gearbox.

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Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS photo
Review: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
by Chris Carter

Super Smash Bros. and I go back a long way. When the first game was released in 1999, I didn't drive. Heck, I didn't even have a Nintendo 64 at that time. But I had a Smash Bros. addiction, and would spend hours upon hours at friends' houses, often staging sleepovers just so we could play more. It was probably the first game I ever put over a thousand hours into.

My Melee addiction was even worse. With wheels, I could drive to local tournaments and hone my craft. I had "training buddies" that I'd sit for hours and play with, trading new strategies along the way. I had groups who played all items on random levels, I had friends who played Final Destination no items only, and I had acquaintances who played a mix of both. However you shake it, Melee may be my most-played game of all time.

But when Brawl came out, a lot of the groups I had been playing with for all these years kind of fell off the map. They either continued to play Melee regardless, or just quit Smash entirely. It was an odd time seeing a franchise that I had enjoyed so much fall off like that in my personal circles, and from what I've seen over the past few years, I wasn't alone. It wasn't a bad game -- it just didn't set off that spark in me that 64 and Melee did before it.

Enter Smash 3DS. Not only has it rekindled my love for the series, but I have a feeling that once the Wii U version hits, living rooms will be smashing for hours all over again.

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Review: The Sims 4 photo
Review: The Sims 4
by Chris Carter

As a growing gamer, Maxis was always one of my go-to developers at a young age. From the original SimCity, to SimAnt, to SimTower, the company was almost infallible in my eyes, and I ate up practically every simulation it had to offer.

But while Maxis had seen a great deal of success, it wasn't until The Sims that it truly crossed over into the mainstream market and exploded. Before FarmVille, before Wii Sports, there was The Sims, and it snared a lot of the non-gaming market over the years.

The Sims 4 tries to tap into that market yet again, but it doesn't really have anything to offer over its predecessor.

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Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter photo
Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
by Alasdair Duncan

Perhaps the biggest surprise about The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is that the developers behind the game were members of People Can Fly, the studio responsible for Bulletstorm; the idea that some of the people who came up with the over-the-top and potty-mouthed first-person shooter would go on to also make this contemplative, supernatural mystery.

It's a beautiful-looking game where players are tasked with finding a missing youngster but are quick to find that there are dark things lurking behind the lovely surroundings.

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

Dark Souls II was quite the ride. Although the game had its fair share of issues, I had a blast playing it, and a number of its zones now have a place in my list of all-time favorite Souls locations.

One of those areas includes the last piece of DLC, The Crown of the Ivory King, which brings back some of the powerful icy imagery from the Painted World of Ariamis.

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Review: Chariot photo
Review: Chariot
by Brett Makedonski

Local cooperative play is something that's been increasingly neglected in an age of videogames that pushes online connectivity seemingly first and foremost. It's ironic that titles like Destiny are the current benchmark for social experiences, when all communication is done through a headset. After all, it really doesn't get more personal than sitting next to someone on a couch and working (almost literally) hand-in-hand to achieve a goal.

Frima Studio hasn't forgotten these golden moments of yesteryear, and aims to recapture them with Chariot. The developers succeeded in their ambition. In fact, they pull it off so well, that you might find yourself short-changed when you don't have a partner in crime readily handy.

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Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Review: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
by Kyle MacGregor

It's still tough to believe a fighting game based on the Persona series exists, let alone is any good, but Persona 4 Arena certainly came as a pleasant surprise. Atlus and Arc System Works are two distinctive studios known for creating very different types of experiences, but somehow managed to meld their unique strengths into a stellar fusion.

It must have been a difficult task, trying to charm two disparate audiences at once, but the developers proved more than capable of surmounting the challenge. Now they've returned with a followup in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, hoping to make lightning strike twice.

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Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair photo
Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
by Brittany Vincent

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was an intelligent riff on the perils of high school -- you know, if you had thrown a murder mystery in between classes and the principal was a maniacal stuffed animal.

Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, takes a beleaguered trope and turns it on its head. This is one "trapped on a desert island" story that takes things to another level entirely.

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Review: Gauntlet photo
Review: Gauntlet
by Chris Carter

Many, many fun hours were spent playing Gauntlet with friends. As one of the most ingenous arcade games of all time, Gauntlet Legends had a really cool mechanic that allowed you to save your progress at the same machine -- warranting multiple trips to the same location just to play it. The fun continued on with the console version of the game, and even further into Dark Legacy, my personal favorite. 

Once Seven Sorrows hit in 2005 though my interest kind of waned -- it simply wasn't a very good game, and the lack of a distinct art style didn't help it stand out among the masses of dungeon crawlers that were emerging out of the console market. But in 2014, Arrowhead Studios has done right by the franchise, and is ready to usher in a whole new audience.

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