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2:30 AM on 09.10.2013

Assassin's Creed Liberation HD coming to PSN, XBLA, PC

That's right! The Vita darling is going all HD for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC early 2014. Development started shortly after the Vita release thanks to how the fan base reacted so positively to it after the E3 reveal...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Galak-Z explores the nooks and crannies of space photo
Galak-Z explores the nooks and crannies of space
by Brett Makedonski

"It's the perfect game for fans of 80's anime," 17-Bit's Raj Joshi told me about Galak-Z before I was given a chance to play it. Admittedly, it seemed like a weird statement at the time. At first glance, the Asteroids-esque space shooter looks relatively run-of-the-mill. Upon a bit of inspection, it's easy to tell where Galak-Z draws inspiration from.

As a character named A-Tak, you control a lone, small spaceship in an attempt to escape the alien territory that you're trapped in. A-Tak looks and speaks very much like a typical anime protagonist, but I think you need not worry if that's not your cup of tea; it's hard to imagine that he'll be around too much. Galak-Z seems as if it'll put a fleeting emphasis on narrative, and focus mostly on the action.

The gameplay has a definite learning curve to it, one that probably can't be perfected during a demo. Your ship comes equipped with a thruster, a booster, lasers, and a limited supply of missiles. While the boosters move you forward, there's a separate button that moves the ship in reverse, which can be used in conjunction with the boosters. There's also a juke button that very briefly pops the ship outside of the 2D plane of the world, providing much-needed sanctuary from the attacks of the enemies. 

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Samurai Gunn might be my favorite game at PAX photo
Samurai Gunn might be my favorite game at PAX
by Brett Makedonski

I didn't really know what Samurai Gunn was before today. It has one of those sort of cliché names that's easy to pass over if you don't have a particular reason to care. After playing it on the PAX show floor, I might not be able to stop thinking about it.

Samurai Gunn is a two-to-four player brawler that's stupidly easy to learn. The only moves in your arsenal are running, jumping, a melee attack, and fireballs to shoot. The objective is to place a well-timed one-hit kill on one of your several opponents before they can get to you. Easier said than done.

The relatively small battle arenas quickly and inevitably fill up with a flurry of players that are probably either on a kill streak or have just respawned. That's kind of par for the course with Samurai Gunn -- you feel like you're doing really well until someone swiftly and unceremoniously rips you off your pedestal. 

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Murasaki Baby is strange and wonderful photo
Murasaki Baby is strange and wonderful
by Dale North

PlayStation Vita title Murasaki Baby looked to be pretty dark and twisted in its debut trailer at Sony's gamescom press conference earlier this week. Now that I've played it, I'd say that it isn't quite as dark as it first came off to be. There's actually a cute side to it.

Kind of.

The cuteness starts with the premise: the player uses the Vita's touchscreen to hold the hand of a baby carrying a balloon. You're to guide her on her journey to bring this balloon to her mother, as she is lost. This baby is kind of cute in an upside down head with huge eyes kind of way. Scary cute, if you will.

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Killzone: Mercenary is the gold standard of portable FPS photo
Killzone: Mercenary is the gold standard of portable FPS
by Kyle MacGregor

There's a common thread running throughout Killzone: Mercenary. From the single-player campaign to the online multiplayer, the entire experience is seamlessly tied together by one thing: Money. It's all about the next paycheck.

Reaping the spoils of war is the order of the day. Whether you're completing story missions or testing your mettle on PSN, Killzone: Mercenary turns on investing in yourself. Cash can be earned and shared throughout the first-person shooter's various gameplay modes, allowing players the opportunity to purchase new weapons and equipment from arms dealers. 

This is a game about sellswords, after all. The life of a professional killer is a balancing act with steep consequences. In order to stay alive for the next big payday, you'll need the right tools for the job.

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The first 10 hours of Dragon's Crown are action packed photo
The first 10 hours of Dragon's Crown are action packed
by Chris Carter

All things considered, Dragon's Crown is one of my most anticipated games of the year, if not the most. As many of you know, I'm a massive fan of action games as well as brawlers, old-school games, and of course, Vanillaware.

Everything about Dragon's Crown looked great, but as we know, there's nothing quite like actually playing something to really judge whether or not what sounds good on paper holds up in practice.

If the first 10 hours are any indication, I don't think I have anything to worry about.

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Wii U delay brought way more content to Rayman Legends photo
Wii U delay brought way more content to Rayman Legends
by Steven Hansen

Rayman Legends is finally almost here. The delay of the Wii U version after the announcement of PS3, 360, and Vita ports seems worlds away, but I'm finally about to embark on the evolution of the gorgeous, 2D platforming goodness I fell in love with in Rayman Origins. Better still, this past half year of extra development time has brought about a lot of additions to the game that we wouldn't otherwise have seen.

Series creator Michel Ancel called Legends "the biggest Rayman game ever," as well as the most polished. There was trepidation even at Ubisoft Montpellier when the game got pushed back because, Ancel noted, the team "didn't hear about how [they] would be able to use that time." Turns out, they were able to cram quite a few more things into Legends, along with churning out several excellent ports.

In addition to the addictive Kung Foot minigame I posted about earlier, Legends has gained "Invasion" levels, an antagonistic appearance by Dark Rayman, new 3D bosses, and complete remasters of the team's favorite levels from Rayman Origins.

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I'm down with Dragon's Crown photo
I'm down with Dragon's Crown
by Jayson Napolitano

Dragon's Crown is easily one of my favorite games of E3. It's been on my radar for years, back when it was being published by UTV Ignition, but I've kept my distance lately with the visual style controversy. I had the opportunity to really dig in here at E3, and I like where it's headed.

There's a lot more to this game than its polarizing visual style, so let's check it out.

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I lost track of time with the laid-back Hohokum photo
I lost track of time with the laid-back Hohokum
by Jordan Devore

Hohokum is one of the games at E3 that might just convince me to buy a PlayStation Vita already, even if it is also coming to PS3 and PS4 next year. Playing it on Vita with a nice pair of headphones seems like the only way to go. In describing Hohokum to others, I felt like a raving lunatic. I'm excited by this unusual game in which you are a snake thing that flies around imaginative worlds -- that much is clear. But communicating what exactly it's about is no easy task. The art style and characters look like something out of Katamari Damacy, which will hopefully attract attention; this one deserves all of the attention it gets.

The first world I played was filled with floating pockets of water that surged in and out, occasionally overlapping with one another. By coming into contact with schools of fish, they began to follow me, so I took them across the stage, one water bubble at a time. I led them to what looked like garbage, which the fish ate for some reason, turning them into poisonous fish? I'm not entirely sure. At any rate, I brought the now-infected fish to this monstrous octopus that sucked them up, causing it to turn into a barnacle. At least, I think that's all true. I can't be too sure. You're thrown into Hohokum and aren't told what to do; more games should do this.

A second level involved flying over stars to create shapes in the sky, while the third had me finding little people and taking them to pinecone-looking objects that eventually turned into kites. The more people I set up with kites, the more elements were added to the soothing music which played a large role in helping me lose track of time. Most relaxing game of the show? Almost certainly. Hohokum is in the same vein of other calming PlayStation Network titles, though I must say, the gameplay itself -- flying around, solving puzzles you don't even know are puzzles -- is a step above. One of my favorite titles here at E3, no question.

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8:00 AM on 06.06.2013

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a ton of fun

I am so jealous of kids growing up this day and age. They have the coolest videogame consoles, the Internet, iPads, and now LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Combining Marvel, one of the hottest movie proprieties right now (and not t...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Tearaway is a must-own for the PlayStation Vita photo
Tearaway is a must-own for the PlayStation Vita
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Last week, I got to preview a bunch of current-gen games, which we can expect to see during E3, at a special pre-show event that entailed several different game companies. The Sony showcase in particular had a handful of games that are now on my radar, such as The Last of Us, Luftrausers, and Doki-Doki Universe.

But out of everything I saw, Media Molecule's Tearaway was by far my favorite game to play. The papercraft world that they've created is incredibly charming, and the way it incorporates the Vita's features along with the actual players themselves makes it so you never want to leave that world.

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Killzone: Mercenary is the FPS the Vita has been needing photo
Killzone: Mercenary is the FPS the Vita has been needing
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

The PlayStation Vita is a great system with a slowly increasing library of great titles. The exception being in the first-person shooter genre, that is.

You'd think that after one of these big game companies made a handheld with two joysticks that there would be a bigger incentive to create more first-person experiences. Instead, we've gotten only a few first-person shooters to date: Resistance: Burning Skies was a joke, and Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was an insult.

I recently went hands-on with Killzone: Mercenary for the Vita, and based on what I saw, it could finally be the FPS the Vita has been so badly needing. It's hard to say this early on if it's a must-own, but my early impressions are at least far more favorable compared to the previous two disasters.

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CounterSpy takes inspiration from classic side-scrollers photo
CounterSpy takes inspiration from classic side-scrollers
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

The first thing you'll notice about CounterSpy is its unique art style. Really, you can say that about a lot of the indie titles Sony has been picking up lately, but there's something extra special about this one. That probably has to do with the fact that the ten-man team at Dynamighty is comprised of ex-LucasArts and Pixar folks.

As you can probably tell from the title, CounterSpy has you playing as a spy tasked with infiltrating two opposing superpowers in order to sabotage their weapons of mass destruction.

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2:00 PM on 05.18.2013

Doki-Doki Universe is more than just flying around on poo

Doki-Doki Universe is a simple game to grasp but a hard one to describe at first. Basically, you play as a robot named QT377665 (or QT3 for short), who's just discovered that its entire line has become obsolete thanks to thei...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Preview: Never the same levels in Cloudberry Kingdom photo
Preview: Never the same levels in Cloudberry Kingdom
by Abel Girmay

The challenge in creating a platformer is figuring out what you could do differently from everyone else. While the same could be said about any genre, you have to admit that it's especially challenging for plaformers, a genre that is so simple at its core. Cloudberry Kingdom's answer is in its AI level creator, which switches up the design of every level you play, every time you play it.

Originally a Kickstarter-funded project, Cloudberry Kingdom was  developed by a core team of four -- including around 12 contractors -- at Pwnee Studios. "When we did the Kickstarter thing, we had distribution deals on Wii U, PSN, and Steam, but Microsoft just really wasn't playing ball with us," said Pwnee Studios' Jordan Fisher.

In need of a major publishers backing to get on the restrictive XBLA, Pwnee started shopping around, eventually finding a partner in Ubisoft. "We actually met Ubisoft at E3, and they liked the game a lot, and they could get us onto XBLA." On the previously mentioned publishing deals, Fisher continues: "That was sort of the  trade-off. We would let them have a slice of wherever it was published in exchange for them getting us on XBLA. It's definitely been worth it though, since they've been getting us marketing and all sorts of support."

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Muramasa for Vita is amazing, plays great photo
Muramasa for Vita is amazing, plays great
by Steven Hansen

God damn this game is pretty.

Vanillaware’s 2009 Wii title Muramasa: The Demon Blade inevitably pops up in just about any discussion of the best Wii games. It’s sitting on my shelf, snug in its shrink wrap, because I simply don’t play my Wii enough. I’m a terrible person.

This egregious affront is soon to be rectified in the best of ways, however, as Aksys is brining Muramasa: Rebirth to Vitas stateside.The art was already gorgeous, but this hand drawn mastery being completely redone in HD for the Vita on the console’s ridiculously pretty screen is a sight to behold. Add in a new localization effort, a dedicated jump button, and DLC featuring four entirely new characters. The game comes out this week in Japan, but I’ve played the incoming English (summer 2013) build. It almost makes it okay I waited this long.

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