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Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric photo
Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
by Chris Carter

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.

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Here's how Nintendo's amiibo figures work, and how they interact with Smash Bros. photo
Here's how Nintendo's amiibo figures work, and how they interact with Smash Bros.
by Chris Carter

Nintendo's long awaited foray into the toy market is here: the amiibo are ready for purchase, and the flagship game, Super Smash Bros., is right on the horizon.

While the toys look great in person and the setup is painless, so far the actual interactivity is underwhelming. Collector itch aside, I'd definitely recommend waiting until more compatible games are out before committing to any purchases.

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Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U photo
Review: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
by Chris Carter

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.

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Now's a nice time to buy a Wii U: Here's everything you should know photo
Now's a nice time to buy a Wii U: Here's everything you should know
by Steven Hansen

[Bumping this guide from July 2014 as-was in anticipation of Smash Bros. week, the holidays, and some new Wii U owners. The only good "Black Friday" deal for the console seems to be $360 from Best Buy with Smash, Donkey Kong Country, Mario 3D World, and Nintendo Land.]

Even if you must play all the Hot New Games, you don't need a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One to do so until 2015. Enough of them are still releasing on PS3 and 360 this fall. The rest, on PC (and, for some of us, handhelds). 

With the recent release of Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros., you might consider buying a Wii U, though. 

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Review: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1 photo
Review: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1
by Jordan Devore

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?

Don't answer that. Let me have this moment.

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Review: Bayonetta 2 photo
Review: Bayonetta 2
by Chris Carter

Outside of Devil May Cry 3, Bayonetta is one of the finest action games of all time. The action systems were so clean, so precise, and so rewarding that it leaves pretty much everything these days in the dust.

Bayonetta 2 doesn't change a whole lot, and that's perfectly okay with me.

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All the Smash Bros. Wii U facts, differences from 3DS version photo
All the Smash Bros. Wii U facts, differences from 3DS version
by Steven Hansen

Alright. If Smash Bros. 3DS is at least a little sparse, this video makes it feel all the more sparse. I mean, Event Mode is back. And there's a separate two-player Event Mode. 

Watch along with the video above, or read along with my jumbled attempts at saving you 35 minutes by jotting down all this new information on the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., which is just a month away.

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Review: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse photo
Review: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
by Chris Carter

I've always thought that Shantae is a bit of an underrated series. While WayForward can be hit or miss these days, I can always rely on their ability to craft a good platformer. Shantae: Risky's Revenge for the DSi is one of my favorite games in the genre, so naturally I gravitated towards the follow-up, Pirate's Curse.

While Curse takes a few steps back from the formula developed by its predecessor, it's still a great action-romp that any 2D fan can get behind.

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Hyrule Warriors' 'Master Quest' DLC is worth the price of entry if you're already addicted photo
Hyrule Warriors' 'Master Quest' DLC is worth the price of entry if you're already addicted
by Chris Carter

Hyrule Warriors is a massive game. If you want to 100% everything, get every weapon, and max out every character, it could last you roughly 200 hours or more. I'm hitting the 100-hour mark myself, due in part to the new Master Quest DLC pack that dropped yesterday.

The pack comes side-by-side with a free update that brings three new characters to the mix, and on its own delivers a new weapon (Epona), five new campaign maps, and a newer, tougher Adventure Mode map.

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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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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U launches November 21 photo
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U launches November 21
by Kyle MacGregor

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will launch in North America on November 21, Nintendo of America announced today. The fighting game will then release across Europe on December 5.

It will support amiibo compatibility at launch. The figures will be available the same day for $12.99 each. Twelve different models will hit shelves at first, with six more coming in December.

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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: Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes photo
Review: Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes
by Chris Carter

Disney Infinity was quite the ambitious project, but it fell flat in a few key areas. This was mostly due to a lack of even game worlds, with a few of the universes overshadowing others that felt more rushed. The other aspect of the game that didn't fully deliver was the Toy Box mode -- a take on LittleBigPlanet's "create your own" levels mechanic.

With Disney Infinity 2.0, Avalanche Software is poised to rectify both of those issues, combined with free reign of the Marvel license. While 2.0 is still primarily targeted towards the younger audience, the overall package is much more enticing the second time around.

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Review: Hyrule Warriors photo
Review: Hyrule Warriors
by Chris Carter

We never could have imagined this mash-up in our wildest dreams.

Nintendo, Team Ninja, and Omega Force together, co-developing a game based on the Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors series. Few stranger things have happened, and fans of both franchises have been eagerly awaiting this all-star combination for months on end.

While the typical Warriors trappings are still present in Hyrule Warriors, Nintendo has injected more than enough charm to make this collaboration something special.

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I've discovered a new go-to game for relaxing photo
I've discovered a new go-to game for relaxing
by Jordan Devore

I play videogames for many reasons. Sometimes, I play for the story -- the chance to visit new worlds and live out someone else's life. Other times, it's the sense of competition I find most alluring, or the chance to master a game's rules and finally overcome its fiercest challenges.

But for every passing motivation to play games I have, I'll always been in need of one that can help me relax. Something to take my mind off life's problems, no matter how big or small they might be. Something I can get into for 15 minutes, or hours on end. Something that'll last.

Right now, Endless Ocean: Blue World is that game for me, and what a gem it is.

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