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11:00 AM on 04.01.2015

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin's enhancements are minor, but I ended up beating it again

Love 'em or hate 'em, this is the generation of remakes. It seems as if remasters of the previous generation pop up more frequently than actual new games, but if said remasters actually end up funding new games rather than th...

Chris Carter



Club Nintendo posts Platinum and Gold rewards photo
Club Nintendo posts Platinum and Gold rewards
by Chris Carter

Club Nintendo is coming to a close, and the ability to register any Coins ended yesterday, but there's one last swan song for the service -- the Platinum and Gold rewards. Today, Nintendo posted said rewards on their site, and they're all-digital yet again.

Platinum members can net Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mario Golf: World Tour, Mario Kart 7, Mario Party: Island Tour, New Super Mario Bros.2, Yoshi's New Island, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, NES Remix 2, Punch-Out!!, Pushmo World, and Ultimate NES Remix.

Gold members (as well as Platinum if you want to dip below your reward grade) have a more retro-flavored selection, with Crashmo, Freakyforms, Pushmo, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages or Seasons, The Mysterious Murasame Castle, Advance Wars, The Legend of Zelda, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, Metroid Fusion, The Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart, WarioWare, Inc, or Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3.

Of course the site is getting hit pretty hard, but you'll have some time to redeem them. Confused as to what to get? I linked all of our reviews and pertinent coverage for the non-retro games above. For the Platinum level I can suggest New Leaf, New Super Mario Bros 2, (especially if you have a spouse or friend who also wants to pick it up for multiplayer or the generally sweet DLC), and Tropical Freeze.

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Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update photo
Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update
by Nic Rowen

More than a month ago Evolve came out to tepid reactions and muted fanfare. Today's release of the game's first major content update, delivering on the Hunting Season Pass and the pre-order Monster Expansion Pack, might have curious players wondering if it's worth a second look. I'm going to go right ahead and dash those hopes now.

While the four new playable hunters and the new monster to terrorize them with might represent some of the best ideas Turtle Rock Studios has had yet, they don't do anything to change the core problems of the game. Given how expensive this DLC feeding frenzy is, and how little you get for it, even hardcore fans will want to do some soul searching before handing over their wallets.

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The joy of bullet hell photo
The joy of bullet hell
by Chris Carter

Shoot-'em-ups started innocently enough. Spacewar blasted its way onto computers back in the 1960s, and after Space Invaders was released, the rest was history. Galaga and Galaxian would go on to further popularize the genre, and R-Type and Gradius would modernize it.

Once eastern game studios really started to test their mettle though, they changed it forever. Shoot-'em-ups were no longer heaven -- they were absolute hell.

Despite their namesake, they were a joy to play.

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Review: Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious photo
Review: Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious
by Steven Hansen

Forza Horizon has long been considered the Fast & Furious of games, so this standalone release makes sense. Unfortunately. it's not much more than a thin, thin Fast & Furious skin over Forza Horizon 2, a bit of a disappointment to the Fast & Furious fan in me. It is a nicely concentrated dose of Forza Horizon 2, though. Enough to sate me, a casual racing fan. I'm not buying Horizon 2, but I gladly played this for a few hours until I'd exhausted it. However, I wouldn't buy this for the $10 price it hits starting April 10, either.

Rather than doing a traditional review for the equivalent of a Pepsi Man or Sneak King, I (Jeep) Wrangled Brett Makedonski to talk about the cross-over.

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Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance photo
Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance
by Chris Carter

I've come to really enjoy Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer months down the line. It's withstood the test of time, and although I was skeptical of Sledgehammer Games' first Duty outing, it has done a decent job at differentiating itself from Treyarch and Infinity Ward, and in most ways, it has already surpassed the latter.

The latest pack is Ascendance, which brings in a few extras outside of the typical four-map, one-zombie level delivery system. It's a better effort than Havoc thanks to the injection of some grappling hooks, but for $15, not every piece of the puzzle carries its load.

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Review: Paperbound photo
Review: Paperbound
by Chris Carter

I don't think I'll ever get tired of arena battle games. I can see myself as a grandfather one day, playing my favorite character in a future iteration of Super Smash Bros., reminiscing with my progeny about how great the old games were, and how overpowered Meta Knight was decades ago. It's those kinds of people who will enjoy Paperbound, the newest arena kid on the block.

While it doesn't have the panache of many other recent arena games like Samurai Gunn or TowerFall, it's still a decent way to spend an afternoon with friends gathered around the couch.

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Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective photo
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective
by Alessandro Fillari

It's not often we see a major player in the big leagues of yearly releases reinvent itself in a more modest and distinct way. With Assassin's Creed titles expected every year, it's been a bit of a challenge for Ubisoft to keep things interesting for players. And after last year's rough launch for its first true current-gen outing with Assassin's Creed Unity, the company now plans to try something a bit different with its popular brand.

Though there's still another major release coming this year, Ubisoft has hopes that the Assassin's Creed Chronicles trilogy will switch things up. At a recent press event, we got to learn more about this surprising smaller-scale reinvention of Assassin's Creed, and how it has echoes of classic titles such as Prince of Persia. Speaking with the developers from Climax Studios, they seek to reinvigorate the AC experience in the 2.5D perspective while retaining the tried-and-true action-stealth gameplay the series is known for.

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Review: Story of Seasons  photo
Review: Story of Seasons
by Brittany Vincent

As a fan of both casual and intermediate simulation and farming games, the Harvest Moon series has always been a mainstay for me. I grew up on several different iterations of the Natsume-published entries beginning with Harvest Moon GB, dabbled with PlayStation 2 releases, and graduated to portable DS titles that found me clearing derelict farms of trees and debris and dating the farmer of my dreams.

Story of Seasons, the latest “proper” entry in the Harvest Moon series, is the first modern farm sim to channel the glory days of my youth. 

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Review: Axiom Verge photo
Review: Axiom Verge
by Conrad Zimmerman

It seems like a foregone conclusion when looking at Axiom Verge that comparisons are going to be made to Metroid. It is, without doubt, similar in more ways than it differs from Nintendo's iconic franchise.

The differences matter, though, and Axiom Verge merges classic environment design with new mechanical twists, producing a game that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time.

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Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage photo
Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage
by Darren Nakamura

With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I like and dislike different parts of it in almost equal measure. The combat is exciting and the characters are likable. On the other hand, the environments are a little dull and it suffers from a host of obnoxious bugs.

Claptastic Voyage, the first and only "big" piece of downloadable content had the opportunity to fix a lot of what was broken with the base game. For the most part it succeeds in that endeavor, but it still seems like 2K Australia has a bit to learn about making the loot-shooter truly great.

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Faith in gaming: The influence of Christianity in videogames photo
Faith in gaming: The influence of Christianity in videogames
by Ben Davis

Religion is not something that is discussed much when talking about videogames, even though many games often feature religious themes and stories based on religious texts. It's difficult to avoid these things, since religion has had such an enormous influence on all cultures, so of course we're going to see it making its way into videogames.

I've always appreciated seeing religious themes in games, even though I'm not religious myself. The folklore is very interesting to learn about, and it's not something I've spent a lot of my time reading up on by myself, so experiencing it in a videogame is about as close as I'm gonna get. Christianity in particular seems to be quite rare in videogames, but there are plenty of quality examples if you know where to look.

Here are a few specific examples of Christianity's influence in videogames:

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Experience Points .09: Final Fantasy IX photo
Experience Points .09: Final Fantasy IX
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Final Fantasy IX. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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What if videogame consoles were Transformers? photo
What if videogame consoles were Transformers?
by Mike Cosimano

This isn't clickbait. This isn't some article cashing in on hypothetical fan art of an Xbox turning into Megatron or a post about those awesome Mega Drive/PlayStation Transformers. This is my life, you fools. I've spent time pouring over this existential question. The world needs to know: what if videogame consoles were Transformers? Here are the Transformers they would be, mostly framed through the IDW comics because those are rad.

You're welcome.

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Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC photo
Weekend Deals: $10 Skyrim Legendary, 25% Off GTA V PC
by Dealzon

Whether its fighting random dragons or avoiding helicopter spawns, there's lots of solid deals this weekend for PC gamers.

If you know for sure you're going to buy Grand Theft Auto V on PC on release day next month, you can snag 25% off this weekend via our special code here. [Edit: The code is dead, but you can get a 22% discount on this page after login or account creation] For $45, you'll get to enjoy RockStar's DRM and play a 1.5 year old game. Seriously, best deal of the century.

The same digital retailer is running a sale on a ton of Bethesda titles including the Elder Scroll V: Skryim Legendary Edition for only $10. The deal is so good that the title is currently "out of stock" - but GMG is guaranteeing that every purchase thru the weekend will receive a copy by March 31st.

In the console department, things are a bit more light but there's a pretty good deal on a Mario Party 10 + amiibo combo for $52 at Newegg - though uh, the title hasn't exactly won raving reviews.

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Review: Pillars of Eternity photo
Review: Pillars of Eternity
by Conrad Zimmerman

Pillars of Eternity is a sort of game which appeared unlikely to exist again in any meaningful way. Isometric, party-based role-playing games certainly seemed like the sort of thing people made, "back in the day," something to be fondly remembered as products of their era's limitations that we've since moved on from.

Yet, here we are. People can still make these games, and these games can still be great.

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