Professional wrestling was a cultural phenomenon when I was younger. In the third grade, conversations at school were a general 50/50 mix of Dragon Ball Z fact repetition and which was better: WCW or WWF. When Hulk Hogan star...
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As a character, Sonic gets a bad rap these days. No matter what is announced, I can practically hear the collective groaning from my desk. Like any popular franchise with consecutive releases, some of them are going to be good, some of them are bad.
Recent games like Generations and even Colors or Lost World were decent, and despite the bad apples, I'm generally hopeful good Sonic games still exist. Sadly, Sonic Boom is not one of them.
Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS was everything I hoped it would be. It rekindled my love for the franchise after my group of friends and I lost interest due to Brawl, and I'm playing online more often than I would with most fighting games. In pretty much every aspect, the game is a success in my eyes, and it seems that sales agree.
But of course the main event is one that can be seen on a glorious television, with four (now eight) players all clamoring over some drinks and having a great time. In that regard, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U might be the best iteration yet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tengami has been out on iOS devices for quite some time but has now finally made its debut on Wii U. I think it's great that the Wii U has the perfect setup for iOS games to make a pretty seamless transition thanks to the GamePad. I already love the GamePad for the unique gameplay potential it brings, so this is an extra bonus!
Tengami is a particular game for a particular type of enjoyment. Sometimes you might just need to relax a bit after murdering hundreds or solving awful murder mysteries and just...slide some paper to one of the most relaxing soundtracks you'll come across!
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?
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.
Hatsune Miku is an international sensation. Despite the fact that she's a simple digital creation, she's managed to rack up a massive amount of record sales and sold-out concerts, including a tour with Lady Gaga and even an appearance on Letterman.
It's impossible to ignore her cultural significance now as she only skyrockets in popularity, and with Sega publishing the sequel to last year's Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, now's a better time than ever to get acquainted with the diminutive diva. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd is your ticket to J-Pop heaven, overflowing with content and a real challenge for anyone who decides to take the plunge.
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.
Some may call Senran Kagura inherently tasteless, but the series of action-packed brawlers has depth and satisfying combat. The games have swept the handheld community mainly because of their increasingly risqué content, but their best-kept secret is that they're just plain fun.
Yeah, there's a whole lot of indecent exposure in each of the Senran Kagura games. No one's disputing that. But so what? These are genuinely fun and engaging titles, and the latest spinoff under the Senran Kagura umbrella is no different. Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! may be lighthearted and riddled with thinly veiled jokes about male anatomy, but it's also a challenging rhythm game skewed toward an adult audience that can be enjoyed by just about anyone -- especially if you like your sundaes with Senran Kagura girls on top. Just don't expect award-winning prose or Grammy-nominated tracks.
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?
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.