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Review: One Piece Unlimited World Red photo
Review: One Piece Unlimited World Red
by Chris Carter

One Piece games are kind of up in the air at this point in terms of quality. Just when I thought Pirate Warriors had solidified that seal of quality from the franchise, Romance Dawn snuck up and stole most of that good will.

Thankfully One Piece Unlimited World Red is not only a much more valiant effort by a completely separate developer (Ganbarion), but it avoids the trap of having to re-explain the story all over again, as Red is an original tale.

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Review: Abyss Odyssey photo
Review: Abyss Odyssey
by Alasdair Duncan

One thing you can't accuse Chilean developer ACE Team of doing is ploughing the same, well trodden ground as other indie devs. Its debut hit Zeno Clash combined a surrealistic art style with first-person, melee combat, while the studio's follow-up title, Rock of Ages, combined Super Monkey Ball with a Monty Python-esque romp through classical history. 

Abyss Odyssey is the studios' third original title and again, its setting is unique from anything else I've seen in videogames. The structure of the game different, too -- a combination of procedurally-generated levels, 2D platforming, intricate combat systems and online, community-driven progression. It doesn't always fit these elements together seamlessly but when it does, Abyss Odyssey still has that "just one more go" factor.

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Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3) photo
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)
by Chris Carter

MMOs are constantly evolving beasts. Particularly in the subscription realm, developers are always searching for ways to keep players hooked, usually in the form of major updates -- big content patches that help ease the wait between even bigger expansions. The latest MMO to get an overhaul is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is seeing its "Defenders of Eorzea" patch this week, bringing up the current version of the game to 2.3.

Since this update is even bigger than the vast majority of $60 retail releases, I'll be looking at everything it has to offer to supplement to our already existing review of A Realm Reborn, which covered up to patch 2.2.

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Review: 4PM photo

If you're like me, then you'll have staggered out of a pub, wandered home, and then tried to fill in the blanks but, like a favorite song of mine says, it's just the best bits that are colored in.

I can't honestly say there's been nights out where I've drawn a total blank but I know my mates and co-workers have repeatedly needed me to fill in the blanks ("You mean you don't remember swearing at the boss, then throwing up in the corner?") and that's never fun.

Caroline, the protagonist in 4PM -- a short interactive story from developer Bojan Brbora -- is having one of those days. What happened last night, why is the room spinning, and shouldn't she be at work?

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Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn  photo
Review: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn
by Brittany Vincent

When I was a kid, I loved watching Gundam Wing and the original Mobile Suit Gundam on Cartoon Network. The mecha genre has always been a personal favorite of mine so I tried to capture the same feeling while playing a video game as I had watching Gundam anime and pretending that I was Heero Yuy or Amuro Ray.

With interest in Gundam on the rise in the US after the Cartoon Network runs, some of the games were finally localized for North America. I thought I’d finally be able to play through the stories I loved so much, picking up Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo as soon as it came out and the disappointment I had in that game resonates with me today. It sure didn’t feel like I was in command of the mobile suit that won the One Year War. I felt like I was in control of a robot-shaped RC car.

Luckily, I was finally able to find the game that would finally reproduce the warm and fuzzy feelings that viewing Gundam for the first time did so long ago, and who would have thought it would have come in the form of a Dynasty Warriors game?

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Review: MouseCraft photo
Review: MouseCraft
by Darren Nakamura

At first glance, MouseCraft reminds players of two classic puzzle games: Tetris and Lemmings. The pieces are there on a superficial level. Three mice walk blindly forward under a specific set of rules; meanwhile, the player rotates and places tetrominoes to aid in reaching the goals.

That is where the similarities end. The mice themselves never take on any special roles, and the tetrominoes do not disappear when fit together in a line. Indeed, a lot of the puzzles require that the blocks do not fit snugly together, which runs counter to conventional play with them. MouseCraft is very much its own puzzle game with its own puzzle premise, and that premise is pretty good.

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Review: The Wolf Among Us: Cry Wolf photo
Review: The Wolf Among Us: Cry Wolf
by Chris Carter

The Wolf Among Us has been one hell of a ride. Although Tellltale's The Walking Dead managed to craft a grimdark world worth seeing time and time again, Wolf has a more nuanced take, with larger-than-life fairy tale characters who have decidedly human problems.

All of it comes to an end here with Cry Wolf, the last episode of the series. While I'll refrain from spoiling anything in particular, I will say that is indeed a satisfying conclusion.

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Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels) photo
Review in Progress: WildStar (Mid-levels)
by Chris Carter

[We'll be reviewing WildStar over an extended period of time. For more details, check out our Reviews in Progress program.]

As we all know, MMOs can drastically change not only over the course of months of updates, but even from level to level. We have already given you an early look at the first 20 hours or so of the game, but as I climb the ladder of leveling more and more starts to open up.

Let's take a look at levels 14-30.

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Review: Monster Monpiece photo
Review: Monster Monpiece
by Brittany Vincent

Too often, unique and engaging games are passed over due to their risqué content and gimmickry, and Monster Monpiece is inevitably one that will fall victim to this curse.

It's not difficult to see why some may be turned off by it, though -- despite the fact that it's a strategic card battler, it's also rife with many of the same tropes that will turn members of even its target audience off: like "rubbing" illustrations that happen to resemble young women and engaging in adult situations. But beneath the trappings of a fluffy "adult" game is a challenging and entertaining card game that's quite fun.

And believe it or not, that's actually the main attraction. 

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Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall: Intercept photo
Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall: Intercept
by Kyle MacGregor

Killzone: Shadow Fall was a respectable launch game. It showcased the power of the nascent PS4 with scintillating visuals, and paired its aesthetic beauty with a competent campaign and sound multiplayer component. 

The shooter wasn't exactly a revelation, but the glossy sheen, at the very least, provided a fine entrée to the new generation. It's been nearly a year since then, and Guerrilla Games has kept the lights on with a myriad of alternations and enhancements, the most recent of which has arrived in the co-operative expansion Intercept.

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Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted photo
Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted
by Alasdair Duncan

"Man is the most deadly of prey" -- whoever said that probably never thought they'd be chased around the desolate British countryside with robotic dogs snapping at their heels.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is the debut game from Big Robot Ltd., which initially saw a release on Steam's Early Access program in August 2013 and after a steady stream of updates, has finally hit a full release as Version 1.0.

The team is headed up by Jim Rossignol, formerly a writer for both PC Gamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. While at both outlets, he wrote many articles proclaiming his admiration for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and there are plenty of similarities to be found in Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Both games have you traversing bleak landscapes in search of scattered items, all the while avoiding powerful enemies. 

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Review: Armillo photo
Review: Armillo
by Chris Carter

After following a number of indie developers who decide to go with the Wii U or 3DS eShop, I'm noticing a lot of the same sentiments in regards to loyalty to Nintendo. Not only have some of these developers grown up with Nintendo systems in general, but they are pledging their support because of the enhanced focus this generation on the indie side.

One such game that will be a timed exclusive on the Wii U is Armillo -- a "rolling platformer" that is a perfect fit for the eShop.

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Review: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark photo
Review: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
by Chris Carter

High Moon Studios set a decent bar with its Activision-published Transformers games in terms of quasi film tie-ins (though the crown still goes to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in my book). None of them were mind-blowingly good, but they succeeded in setting their own tone while staying inline with the film series, and delivered a mostly enjoyable action romp with a fun horde mode before it was featured in every game ever.

Here on the advent of the worst-reviewed Transformers film yet is by far the worst game so far in the franchise -- it's a shame High Moon couldn't have had a crack at it.

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Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II photo
Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II
by Patrick Hancock

The first Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing wasn't a bad game, however it did have crippling technical issues that held it back. Those issues have since been fixed, and developer Neocore Games has learned a lot in the process, it seems.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II does what a sequel is known for and improves on the core idea of Van Helsing while adding enough content to justify a sequel. If you're a fan of "ARPGs," your ears should be perking up right about now.

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Review: The Rhythm of Fighters photo
Review: The Rhythm of Fighters
by Chris Carter

Over the past few decades, SNK has created a vast stable of memorable characters and franchises. I remember going into an arcade as a child for the first time and spending $10 on Fatal Fury, finding the fighters there more appealing in many ways than Capcom's Street Fighter cast.

SNK has melded these characters into just about every genre imaginable, from beat-'em-ups to shoot-'em-ups (King of Fighters Sky Stage rocks by the way), and now, they're pushing out a rhythm game. Despite the fact that it doesn't defy genre conventions in the slightest, that reliable stable of IPs works strongly in SNK's favor yet again.

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Review: PlayStation Vita Pets photo
Review: PlayStation Vita Pets
by Brittany Vincent

Of the many digital venues I'd expect to see a virtual pet simulator, the PlayStation Vita was certainly not one. PlayStation Vita Pets is an interesting diversion, not only because of the bizarre system it released on, but the fact that is breaks all the "pet simulator rules" I've become accustomed to. Forget Nintendogs -- these puppies don't need a leash and they surely aren't relegated to frou-frou accessories. They don't need you to make sure they go on walks, either, because they've got their own thing going on. Did I mention they talk?

Where most games are content to offer a selection of pooches for you to groom, walk, and train as you see fit, British studio Spiral House apparently sought to revolutionize the genre, and it's clear from the very beginning that this isn't your average Dogz or Catz clone. It's easy to dismiss as an uninspired piece of shovelware, but those who give it a look will undoubtedly end up pleasantly surprised by its refusal to adhere to traditional pet-raising convention -- even if it does have some accidents here and there.

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